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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 Cyprus comprises the following main features:

  • a strong cultural trend towards general secondary education followed by a demand for tertiary education qualifications;
  • the enhancement of lifelong guidance and counselling services as a mean to increase VET attractiveness;
  • a shift to the learning outcomes approach (which can be considered at an early stage) followed by a strong commitment to establish their use.

Distinctive features ([1]Adapted from Cedefop (2016) Vocational education and training in Cyprus: Spotlight. http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/files/8096_en.pdf):

Cyprus has a long-standing tradition of tripartite consultation (government, trade unions and employers’ organisations) and social dialogue. The social partners are involved in:

  • planning in an advisory and consultative capacity;
  • education reform promoted by the government;
  • boards of directors of institutions dealing with human resource issues;
  • identifying education and training needs and setting priorities in education and training.

Vocational education and training in Cyprus is mainly public. Provision of secondary VET including evening technical schools, the apprenticeship system and post upper secondary VET is free of charge, while various adult vocational training programmes are offered for a limited fee.

Financial incentives for participation in adult vocational training are provided by the Human Resource Development Authority of Cyprus (HRDA) ([2]In Greek: Αρχή Ανάπτυξης Ανθρώπινου Δυναμικού Κύπρου (ΑνΑΔ).
http://www.anad.org.cy
), a semi-government organisation. The Human Resource Development Authority reports to the government through the competent minister who is the minister of Labour, Welfare and Social Insurance. It is governed by a 13-strong tripartite board of directors, comprising government, employer and trade union representatives.

Funding provided by the Human Resource Development Authority has encouraged enterprises and their employees to participate in training and development activities.

Cyprus has a high level of educational attainment. There is a strong cultural trend among Cypriots in favour of general secondary education followed by higher education. The economic crisis that Cyprus faced in 2012-15, together with the efforts to increase VET attractiveness, have contributed to a significant increase in the number of students who enrol in technical schools. In 2014, VET attracted 15.1% of the upper secondary learners compared to 12.7% in 2011.

The recent economic crisis, and its adverse effects on the labour market, has been a critical challenge for education and training.

Training has been redirected to respond flexibly and effectively to the crisis, with targeted actions for the unemployed, economically inactive, and the employed.

A major challenge is to address the young as well as long-term unemployment. Actions are being taken to promote employability of young persons and the long-term unemployed, through individualised guidance, training and work placements.

Another challenge for education and training, which features prominently in the current education reform, is to encourage adult participation in lifelong learning activities and increase VET participation among the young. A comprehensive, attractive, flexible and high quality VET system is being developed to respond better to the needs of the economy. Core measures are promoting tertiary non-university programmes offered by institutes for technical and vocational education, which were accredited in 2017 by the Cyprus Agency for Quality Assurance and Accreditation in Higher Education (DIPAE) as public schools of higher vocational education and training, upgrading secondary technical and vocational education curricula and raising the quality and competences of secondary technical and vocational education teachers. There are also actions to upgrade the apprenticeship, designed to constitute a viable, alternative form of training for young people.

These measures are included in the strategic plan for technical and vocational education 2015-20 and the proposal of the education ministry for upgrading the apprenticeship, approved by the

government in 2015.

EU tools for validating acquired skills, such as the Cyprus qualifications framework (CyQF) ([3]http://www.cyqf.gov.cy/index.php/el/), will improve horizontal and vertical permeability of education and training systems. The development of a competence-based system of vocational qualifications by the Human Resource Development Authority which is an integral part of the national qualifications framework is expected to strengthen the ties between VET for young people and vocational training for adults, improving their knowledge and skills.

Data from VET in Cyprus Spotlight 2016 ([4]Adapted from Cedefop (2016). Spotlight on vocational education and training in Cyprus. Luxembourg: Publications Office. http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/files/8096_en.pdf).

Population in 2018: 864 236 ([5]NB: Data for population as of 1 January. Eurostat table tps00001 [extracted 16.5.2019].)

It decreased by 0.2% since 2013 due to negative natural growth ([6]NB: Data for population as of 1 January. Eurostat table tps00001 [extracted on 16.5.2019].).

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

The old-age dependency ratio is expected to increase from 21 in 2015 to 55 in 2060.

 

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

Source: Eurostat, proj_15ndbims [extracted 16.5.2019].

 

 

Participation at upper secondary VET has been increasing since 2013, despite the decreasing birth rate in the early 2000s.

Source: Eurostat, educ_uoe_enrs10 & demo_gind [extracted 14.5.2019].

 

Not applicable

Most companies are micro-sized. According to social insurance data ([7]Ministry of Labour, Welfare and Social Insurance (2018). General statistics 2018. http://www.mlsi.gov.cy/mlsi/sid/sidv2.nsf/page21_en/page21_en?OpenDocument) for 2017, 92.6% of enterprises employed 1-9 persons, while 6.2% employed 10-49 persons. Only 1.1% employed over 50 persons.

Main economic sectors:

  • financial and insurance activities;
  • wholesale and retail trade;
  • real estate activities;
  • public administration and defence;
  • professional, scientific and technical activities;
  • tourism;
  • construction.

With the exception of tourism and construction sectors, these sectors are not strongly linked to VET qualifications.

In general, there are few limitations/restrictions in the labour market, especially in occupations where health and safety is of concern.

For some occupations/professions, it is compulsory to hold specific certificates/diplomas or to be registered at the appropriate professional body.

For example, it is required by law that all engineers are registered members of the Cyprus Scientific and Technical Chamber ([8]In Greek: Επιστημονικό Τεχνικό Επιμελητήριο Κύπρου:
https://www.etek.org.cy/
) the statutory technical advisor to the State and the umbrella organisation for all Cypriot engineers. The chamber issues relevant certificates and licenses.

Also, the department of electrical and mechanical services of the transport ministry is the competent authority for the implementation of the legislation in fields of electrical installations and auto-mechanical repairs such as the law which regulates the profession of automobile technicians.

Furthermore, according to a recent regulation, it will become compulsory for plumbing, heating and cooling systems technicians to hold the appropriate vocational qualification issued by the Human Resource Development Authority through the system of vocational qualifications, in order to practice the profession.

Total unemployment ([9]Percentage of active population, 25 to 74 years old) (2018): 7.3% (6.0% in EU28); it increased by 4.2 percentage points since 2008 ([10]Eurostat table une_rt_a [Extracted on 20.05.2019]).

 

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 as unskilled workers are more vulnerable to unemployment. In 2018, the unemployment rate of people with medium-level qualifications, including most VET graduates (ISCED levels 3 and 4) is still higher than in the pre-crisis years.

Employment rate of 20-34 year old VET graduates increased from 72.4% in 2014 to 76.6% in 2018.

 

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

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

 

The increase (+4.2 pp) in employment of 20-34 year-old VET graduates in 2014-18 was lower compared to the increase in employment of all 20-34 year-old graduates (+6.2 pp) in the same period in Cyprus ([11]Source: Eurostat, edat_lfse_24 [extracted 16.5.2019].).

Education traditionally has high value in Cyprus. The share of the population aged up to 64 with higher education is 44.1%. The share of those with low or without qualification is 17.7% that is below the EU28 average (21.8%).

 

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

upper secondary

post-secondary

not applicable

16.7%

100%

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

In upper secondary VET, the share has increased by 3.2 percentage points since 2013.

 

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].

 

There are more males in VET. Based on data provided by the education ministry, for the school year 2018/19, the 78.1% of learners in all VET programmes at upper Secondary level are males. Also, in tertiary (non-university) programmes offered by the education ministry (MIEEK), approximately 60% of the learners are males.

At upper secondary level, for the 2018/19 school year, the most popular field of study and specialisations among males were Cooks and waiters and Automobile engineering and car electrics and electronics. Among females the most popular fields were also ‘cooks and waiters’ and ‘hairdressing’([12]These are the names of the relevant specialisations.).

The share of early leavers from education and training has decreased from 11.7% in 2009 to 7.8% in 2018. The result is below the national target of not more than 10% and the EU28 average of 10.6%.

 

Early leavers from education and training in 2009-18

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

 

Drop-out rate from VET: Information not available

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

 

Participation in lifelong learning in 2014-18

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

 

According to Eurostat (Labour Force Survey([13]The European Union Labour Force Survey (EU LFS) is conducted in the 28 Member States of the European Union, four candidate countries and three countries of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) in accordance with Council Regulation (EEC) No 577/98 of 9 March 1998. At the moment, the LFS microdata for scientific purposes contain data for all Member States plus Iceland, Norway and Switzerland.
The EU Labour Force Survey is a large household sample survey providing quarterly results on labour participation of people aged 15 and over as well as on persons outside the labour force. All definitions apply to persons aged 15 years and over living in private households. Persons carrying out obligatory military or community service are not included in the target group of the survey, as is also the case for persons in institutions/collective households.
The data collection covers the years from 1983 onwards. In general, data for individual countries are available depending on their accession date. The Labour Force Surveys are conducted by the national statistical institutes across Europe and are centrally processed by Eurostat. The national statistical institutes are responsible for selecting the sample, preparing the questionnaires, conducting the direct interviews among households, and forwarding the results to Eurostat in accordance with the requirements of the regulation. Thus, it is possible to make available harmonised data at European level. More information available at: https://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/web/microdata/european-union-labour-force-...
)), the share of 25-64 year-olds participating in education and training over the four weeks prior to the survey was 6.7% in 2018, which is lower than the EU average of 11.1% in 2018 and the national target for 2020 of 12%.

 

VET learners by age group

Source: CYSTAT and Eurostat, educ_uoe_enrs05 [extracted 24.4.2019].

 

The education and training system comprises:

  • pre-primary education(ISCED level 0);
  • integrated primary and lower secondary education (ISCED levels 1 and 2, ISCED 244) (hereafter basic education which is compulsory till the age of 15);
  • upper secondary education (ISCED levels 4 and 3 for apprenticeship-learners who leave formal education between grades 8-10) (EQF 4 (ISCED 344, 354)and respectively 3);
  • post-secondary not tertiary education (EQF 5, ISCED 554, 454);
  • higher education (EQF 6-8, ISCED 655, 766 and 767 for post-graduate studies at master level (1-2 years)), ISCED 864 for PhD programmes).

Education in Cyprus is available from the pre-primary to the postgraduate levels. It is compulsory at the pre-primary, primary (grades 1 to 6), and lower secondary (grades seven to nine) levels, until the student reaches the age of 15.

In upper secondary education, which lasts for three years (grades 10 to 12) there are two types of schools: the unified lyceum and technical schools.

The number of higher education places in Cyprus is rather limited as there are only three public and five private universities. A large proportion of young people continuing to higher education enrol in educational institutions abroad.

Government regulated VET provision leads to four qualification levels (2- 5) that are the same as in the European qualifications framework (EQF).

European qualifications framework levels 2-3 VET qualifications are only offered in the form of apprenticeship ([14]New modern apprenticeship (NMA) is directed towards young people between 14 and 21 years of age at two apprenticeship levels (preparatory and core). Participation in the NMA is not part of compulsory education and is free of charge. The new modern apprenticeship targets two distinct groups of learners:
(a) learners who have not completed compulsory education lower secondary programmes (third grade of gymnasium) can enrol at the preparatory apprenticeship level. The preparatory apprenticeship has been introduced to provide support to early school leavers between the ages of 14 and 16, by gradually introducing them to the labour market, giving them a taste of VET, and helping them to choose a specialisation when they proceed to the core level of apprenticeship; and
(b) learners who have either successfully completed compulsory education or successfully completed preparatory apprenticeship can enrol at the core apprenticeship level.
).

There are several VET learning options:

  • at upper secondary level VET is provided at technical schools for students aged 15-18 and evening technical schools, as well as in the afternoon and evening classes of technical schools for adults;
  • the education ministry also offers formal education programmes free of charge, in both the theoretical and practical directions, through the two evening technical schools, one in Nicosia and another in Limassol, to further promote participation in secondary vocational education and support the integration of school dropouts in the workplace and in society in general;
  • also three-year programmes are provided in the context of the afternoon and evening classes of technical schools, which are administered by the Department of Secondary Technical and Vocational Education and Training (STVET). They offer a variety of courses such as plumbing, electrical installations, engineering, computers, car mechanics, cooking and graphic design.

VET at tertiary level

VET at tertiary, non-university level is provided at public and private institutes/colleges offering people the opportunity to acquire, improve, or upgrade their qualifications and skills. Successful completion of these accredited programmes, which may last for two-to-three years, lead to a diploma or higher diploma awarded by the institution (European qualifications framework level 5). The public post-secondary institutes of VET ([15]In 2012, the education ministry in cooperation with the labour ministry and other stakeholders established, within the context of the education reform, post-secondary institutes of VET, co-financed by the ESF, which offered further technical specialisation as of the academic year 2012/13. These were in April 2017 by the Cyprus Agency of Quality Assurance and Accreditation in Higher Education granted them tertiary non-university level status.) were accredited in 2017 by the Cyprus Agency of Quality Assurance and Accreditation in Higher Education (CYQAA) ([16]Cyprus Agency of Quality Assurance and Accreditation in Higher Education (CYQAA). In Greek: Φορέας Διασφάλισης και Πιστοποίησης της Ποιότητας της Ανώτερης Εκπαίδευσης (
http://www.dipae.ac.cy/index.php/el/ )
) as public schools of higher vocational education and training. They offer two-year accredited programmes that lead to the acquisition of a diploma ([17]Private institutions of tertiary education offer a wide range of academic as well as vocational programmes of study at various levels (one- or two years diploma, three years higher diploma, four-years bachelor degree and one- or two-years master’s degree) in secretarial studies, aesthetics, food preparation, music, arts and drama, graphic design, hotel and tourism management, computer science, social sciences, education, business studies, management and engineering. English is the language of instruction for most programmes of studies offered, which attracts students from other countries. Furthermore, several private institutions of tertiary education offer academic programmes of study based on validation or franchised agreements with more than 10 European universities and following the provisions of the competent Law of the Republic of Cyprus.
Since 1996, the establishment and operation of all private institutions of tertiary education is regulated by law. Each institution sets its own internal regulations, student entry requirements and evaluation, qualifications awarded, tuition fees and teachers’ qualifications, which are published in an annual prospectus.
).

There are four public institutions of tertiary education (non-university level) offering programmes in forestry, culinary arts and other vocations.

Training for employees

The main bodies promoting training provision for the employed are the Human Resource Development Authority, the education ministry, the labour ministry, and other ministries and public institutions. Moreover, private institutions such as colleges, training institutions, consultancy firms and enterprises offer a variety of courses for adults, including many that are not subsidised by the Human Resource Development Authority.

Other ministries offer, usually relative to their mandate training:

  • the Higher Hotel institute of Cyprus (HHIC) offers upgrading courses to employees in the hotel and restaurant sector([19]Higher Hotel institute of Cyprus (HHIC). In Greek: Ανώτερο Ξενοδοχειακό Ινστιτούτο Κύπρου:
    http://www.mlsi.gov.cy/mlsi/hhic/hhic.nsf/index_gr/index_gr?OpenDocument&lang=el
    );
  • the agriculture ministry is offering training to farmers, foresters and forestry graduates. These courses are offered mostly by the agricultural educational centres;
  • the Cyprus academy of public administration is training civil servants;
  • the health ministry is responsible for the planning and coordination of continuing professional development of public sector nurses;
  • the justice and public order ministry promotes the training of police officers and sergeants provided by the Cyprus police academy. The police academy also offers part-time training in the use of computers for police members.

Training for the unemployed

The main bodies promoting training provision for the unemployed are the Human Resource Development Authority in cooperation with the labour ministry and the education ministry. The Human Resource Development Authority offers the following training activities:

  • training programmes for the unemployed aim at the participation of the unemployed who are registered with the public employment services in training programmes for specific occupations/themes that the Human Resource Development Authority of Cyprus defines after consultation;
  • employment and training of tertiary education graduates;
  • training of the long-term unemployed in enterprises/organisations;
  • multi-company training programmes.

The apprenticeship system was a two-year initial VET programme providing practical and theoretical training to young people who had not successfully completed their secondary compulsory education and wished to be trained and employed in technical occupations. This was terminated with the graduation of the last intake of apprentices in June 2013 and was replaced by the New Modern Apprenticeship (NMA) which started its operation in the school year 2012/13.

In 2007, the council of ministers approved the proposal for the establishment of the New Modern Apprenticeship, which provides an alternative pathway for education, training and development for young people who withdraw from the formal education system and is geared towards meeting the needs of the labour market. As of September of 2015 the council of ministers, assigned full responsibility for the operation of the apprenticeship to the Department of Secondary Technical and Vocational Education and Training (STVET) ([20]In Greek: Διεύθυνση μέσης τεχνικής και επαγγελματικής εκπαίδευσης και κατάρτισης.) of the education ministry. The improvement of the quality of the apprenticeship and the enhancement of its relevance to labour market needs is implemented as approved by the council of ministers in August 2015.

The apprenticeship, which is co-funded by the European Social Fund (ESF) and the government of Cyprus, is directed towards young people between 14 and 21 years of age at two apprenticeship levels (preparatory and core). Participation in the apprenticeship is not part of compulsory education and is free of charge. The apprenticeship targets two distinct groups of students:

  • students who have not completed compulsory education lower secondary programmes (third grade of gymnasium) can enrol at the preparatory apprenticeship level. The preparatory apprenticeship has been introduced to provide support to early school leavers between the ages of 14 and 16, by giving them a taste of VET, and helping them to choose a specialisation when they proceed to the core level of apprenticeship; and
  • students who have either successfully completed compulsory education or successfully completed preparatory apprenticeship can enrol at the core apprenticeship level.

Preparatory apprenticeship does not involve employment but constitutes an alternative form of education and training for students between 14 and 16 years of age who have the opportunity through this programme to develop their numeracy, literacy and digital skills, to explore their talents and abilities through creative arts, and to take part in workshops related to technical occupations. Such workshops include carpentry, plumbing and mechanics. The curricula are developed by the trainers. Participation in these workshops is part of the programme and does not lead to individual qualifications. Students also receive individual counselling from psychologists according to their needs. Students who complete preparatory apprenticeship (ISCED 2, EQF level 2) may proceed to the core apprenticeship level or, if they wish and provided they succeed in a special set of exams, they may re-enter the formal education system.

Core apprenticeship lasts three years and involves both training at school and practical training in enterprises. Apprentices sign a contract with their employer which mainly regulates their terms of employment. Apprentices follow practical training in enterprises for three days per week where they are remunerated for their work and receive theoretical training for two days per week by attending classes at technical schools.

New curricula have been developed for car mechanics, plumbing/central heating, welding/metal constructions, bakery/confectionery, carpentry/furniture making, electrical installations, and home appliances technicians by trainers chosen through a competitive process. The curricula have been developed for the theoretical subjects of the core apprenticeship, such as Greek, maths, physics, English, information technology, and technical specialisations. The curricula of technical specialisations incorporate the standards of vocational qualifications developed by the Human Resource Development Authority). The content of training in enterprises is based on a training plan developed by the school trainer and the enterprise trainer working together and agreed by the employer. The enterprise training of the apprentice is monitored by regular visits of the school trainer to the enterprise and a monthly report prepared and submitted to the apprenticeship officer.

Teachers of the theoretical training that takes place at school are teachers of secondary technical and vocational education. Following the development of new curricula, a training of trainers programme has been implemented for preparatory apprenticeship trainers.

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

The education ministry has overall responsibility for the development and implementation of educational policy, while labour ministry has overall responsibility for labour and social policy.

As of September 2015, the government assigned full responsibility for the operation of the New Modern Apprenticeship (NMA) to the Department of Secondary Technical and Vocational Education and Training (STVET) of the education ministry.

The Directorate General for European programmes, Coordination and Development ([21]In Greek: Γενική Διεύθυνση Ευρωπαϊκών Προγραμμάτων, Συντονισμού και Ανάπτυξης (ΓΔ ΕΠΣΑ):
http://www.dgepcd.gov.cy/dgepcd/dgepcd.nsf/index_gr/index_gr?OpenDocument
) is responsible for European funds and programmes, coordination of government work, research, technological development and innovation, lifelong learning and the ‘Europe 2020’ strategy.

The Human Resource Development Authority of Cyprus has an important role in vocational training. It is a semi-government organisation whose mission is to create the necessary prerequisites for the planned and systematic training and development of the human resources of Cyprus.

Public funds administered mainly by the education ministry are the primary source for financing VET.

The financing provided by European social fund has played an important role in the promotion of participation due to the increased level of funds available which led to the introduction of new training programmes. Many training programmes that are co-financed by European social fund are addressed to the unemployed and groups at risk of exclusion from the labour market.

Expenditure on Education (% on GDP)

 

2011

2012

2013

2014

2015

2016*

Public expenditure on education

7.2

6.4

6.6

6.5

6.5

6.5

Total expenditure on education

9.4

8.7

8.8

8.8

8.8

n.a.

NB. *: provisional. n.a.: not available

Source: CYSTAT (2018a).

Expenditure on VET (% on GDP)

 

2011

2012

2013

2014

2015

2016

Public expenditure on VET

0.3

0.3

0.3

0.3

0.3

0.3

Source: CYSTAT.

 

Expenditure per student in 2010-16 (EUR)

NB: Most recent data.
Source: CYSTAT.

 

As far as VET for adults is concerned, the Human Resource Development Authority subsidises a variety of training activities, implemented by public and private institutions and enterprises, which are addressed to employed and unemployed persons.

The funds of the Human Resource Development Authority come from the human resource development levy of 0.5% on the payroll of employers excluding the government. Enterprises and vocational training centres are directly involved in training activities and prepare and submit training programmes to the Human Resource Development Authority on a continuous basis. In general, the subsidisation covers about 80% of the eligible total costs.

In VET there are:

  • teachers of the theoretical part;
  • apprentice tutors;
  • trainers of vocational training.

Teachers of the theoretical part teach in upper secondary vocational schools, in the school-based component of apprenticeships and in VET Higher education (non-tertiary) institutes. Teachers at all levels of school education are university graduates with a Bachelor’s degree as a minimum qualification. A very small number of VET teachers employed at technical schools hold a diploma or similar qualification from colleges or other similar educational establishments of tertiary (non-higher) education in courses of at least three years duration and were appointed at a lower salary scale.

Apprentice tutors are employees of the enterprise where the in-company training component takes place. No specific training is needed to perform these duties.

Upgrading the continuous professional development of teachers and the enhancement of the quality, attractiveness and efficiency of VET and new modern apprenticeship are important challenges for the education system of Cyprus. This is reflected in the education reform, which is a long process involving all VET stakeholders, as well as in the strategies and policies of the education ministry.

People who want to become trainers of vocational training must successfully go through the assessment and certification procedure following the system of vocational qualifications and acquire the trainer of vocational training qualification (European qualifications framework/Cyprus qualifications framework level 5, system of vocational qualifications level 5). Through the multi-company training programmes scheme, train the trainer programmes are offered to prepare trainers for assessment and certification.

Certified trainers of vocational training, deliver approved and subsidised courses, by the Human Resource Development Authority, both at vocational training centres as well as in companies for in-house training.

The Cyprus Pedagogical lnstitute ([22]Cyprus Pedagogical lnstitute(CPI). In Greek: Παιδαγωγικό Ινστιτούτο Κύπρου:
http://www.pi.ac.cy/pi/index.php?lang=el
) (CPI), according to a council of ministers decision (August 2015), is the official department of the education ministry which runs teachers’ professional learning. It offers a variety of free-of-charge training programmes that are repetitive and compulsory for teachers, mainly because they are provided by the education laws or their service plans or because these programmes are developed with reference to the current needs and the context of schools.

For example, the Cyprus Pedagogical Institute provides compulsory courses for newly appointed VET head teachers and deputy head teachers. These courses are offered once a week, during a school year, from October to May.

In addition, the Cyprus Pedagogical Institute in collaboration with the directorate of secondary technical and vocational education offers training programmes on various subjects of the curricula to all teachers. Optional seminars on instruction and pedagogy are also offered by the institute during the afternoons and they are open and free for all teachers.

Based on the new decision of the council of ministers (July 2017) emphasis is given on schools-based professional learning which is closely related to the annual school improvement plan.

The technical schools have the opportunity to receive systematic support from the Cyprus Pedagogical Institute on an annual basis. At the beginning of the school year, schools are expected to utilise a needs assessment procedure in order to define their specific needs and target a single priority theme. Then, according to their needs, each school has to organise its own training programme for the teachers, making use of plethora of training programmes offered by the Institute or elsewhere. Based on its training, each school designed its own action plan.

Some technical schools participated in this programme of systematic support from the Cyprus Pedagogical Institute and followed the methodology of action research as well as other methodologies for teachers’ professional learning, like lesson studies or teachers’ rounds. Teacher rounds is a collaborative form of lesson planning, peer observation and occurs in the classroom, in real-time. It entails intentional reflection, observation, inquiry and collaboration. Every member of the group of teachers are reflective partners and take-away something from the lesson.

At the same time, a legislative framework for professional learning at an individual level is currently being discussed in the negotiations on the new teachers’ evaluation framework.

For trainers of vocational training, the Human Resource Development Authority offers programmes through the multi-company training programmes scheme to prepare trainers for assessment and certification or further enhance their training skills in ad hoc subjects.

More information is available in the Cedefop ReferNet thematic perspective on teachers and trainers([23]http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/en/publications-and-resources/country-reports/teachers-and-trainers).

The assessment of skill needs is operated by the Human Resource Development Authority. The finance ministry provides projections for the growth of the economy. The education ministry is responsible for the identification of educational and special skill needs.

For the systematic employment forecasting and the identification of skills gaps, the Human Resource Development Authority conducts the following research studies:

  • long-term employment trends and forecasting in Cyprus.

The Human Resource Development Authority provides 10-year employment forecasts on a regular basis every two to three years. The latest study of employment forecasts for Cyprus was completed in 2017, covers the period 2017-27 and provides forecasts for employment needs in all economic sectors (three broad sectors, 21 main sectors and 52 sectors) and in all occupations, 309 in total (173 high level occupations, 130 middle level occupations and 6 low level occupations), covering the whole spectrum of the Cyprus labour market ([24]Human Resource Development Authority (2017a). Προβλέψεις Απασχόλησης στην Κυπριακή Οικονομία 2017-27 [Forecasts of employment needs in the Cyprus economy 2017-27]. http://www.anad.org.cy/easyconsole.cfm/page/project/p_id/404);

This study provides annual estimates for the number of persons needed for specific occupations and the needs for specific skills. On the basis of these estimates, suggestions are put forward for the implementation of training programmes. In the study, the views of enterprises, social partners and other stakeholders are collected and analysed through specially designed questionnaires;

  • studies on specific sectors.

There are two recent such studies. The first one is the Identification of blue skills in the Cyprus economy, a study which examines and analyses the blue economy and blue occupations, maps out the blue economy of Cyprus and identifies blue skill needs in the Cyprus economy for the period 2016-26 ([26]Human Resource Development Authority (2016). Εντοπισμός Αναγκών σε Γαλάζιες Δεξιότητες στην Κυπριακή Οικονομία 2016-2026 [Identification of blue skill needs in the Cyprus economy 2016-26 ].
http://www.anad.org.cy/easyconsole.cfm/page/project/p_id/311
). It provides forecasts for employment demand in economic sectors and occupations which are part of the blue economy. The second one is the Identification of green skill needs in the Cyprus economy ([27]Human Resource Development Authority (2018). Εντοπισμός Αναγκών σε Πράσινες Δεξιότητες στην Κυπριακή Οικονομία 2017-2027 [Identification of green skill needs in the Cyprus economy 2017-27]. http://www.anad.org.cy/easyconsole.cfm/page/project/p_id/471). This study examines and analyses the green economy and green occupations, mapping out the green economy of Cyprus and identifying green skill needs in the Cyprus economy for the period 2017-27;

  • the finance ministry, provides projections for the growth of the economy, which include forecasts of value added, productivity and employment, and submits proposals for the required policy changes.

See also Cedefop’s skills forecast ([28]http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/en/publications-and-resources/data-visualisations/skills-forecast) and European Skills Index ([29]https://skillspanorama.cedefop.europa.eu/en/indicators/european-skills-index)

In Cyprus until recently there has been relatively limited implementation of frameworks and mechanisms regarding the transparency of qualifications and systems for the recognition of competences and qualifications so the development of a competence-based system is a high priority. The system of vocational qualifications is in place for the assessment of the competence of a person to carry out a specific job in real or/and simulated working conditions.

The system of vocational qualifications is designed for the assessment and certification of the competence of a person to carry out a specific job in real or/and simulated working conditions. The system of vocational qualifications is based on Vocational Qualifications Standards (VQS) developed by the Human Resource Development Authority. The vocational qualifications standards define the tasks and the required knowledge, skills and competences for each vocational qualification. At the same time, the vocational qualifications standards define the framework for the training and development of the candidates to be prepared for a successful assessment, in order to obtain the certification of their vocational qualifications. The system of vocational qualifications developed by the Human Resource Development Authority is integrated, at levels 2 to 7, within the Cyprus qualifications framework.

The standards that are developed are discussed by technical committees of vocational qualifications and approved by the board of directors of the Human Resource Development Authority.

To date, seventy two vocational qualifications have been developed by the Human Resource Development Authority with the contribution of technical committees comprising representatives of industry, employers and workers and education and training institutions.

The system of vocational qualifications has adopted the four phases of the validation procedure according to the European Recommendation on Validation of non-Formal and Informal Learning ([30]Council of the European Union (2012). Council Recommendation of 20 December 2012 on the validation of non-formal and informal learning. Official Journal of the European Union, C 398, 22.12.2012, pp. 1-5.).

The description of the four phases follows:

  • Identification

Identification involves the determination of the learning outcomes gained through formal, non-formal and informal learning. The identification takes place in approved by Human Resource Development Authority the Centres for Assessment of Vocational Qualifications (CAVQ).

At first, information is provided to the candidates about the system of vocational qualifications requirements. The identification arises from an interview in which the centres for assessment of vocational qualifications obtains information from the candidates related to their education and work experience, in particular to the learning outcomes. Then the candidates are advised to choose a specific qualification standard according to their knowledge, skills and competence. The results of this phase are written down in the identification and documentation report.

  • Documentation

Documentation entails sufficient proof of the knowledge, skills and competences, which have been identified during the previous phase. The candidates submit to the centres for assessment of vocational qualifications any relevant documents proving the acquisition of the learning outcomes through formal, non-formal and informal learning. i.e. educational and vocational qualifications, employment experience confirmation, social insurance statements. The results of this phase are described in the identification and documentation report.

If the candidates decide to proceed with the assessment in order to acquire the certificate of vocational qualification they have to fill in and sign the application form. The application form should be accompanied by the identification and documentation report and all the relevant documents.

When a group of up to three candidates is formed the director/manager of centres for assessment of vocational qualifications submits to the Human Resource Development Authority for approval the application forms attached with the identification and documentation report and the relevant documents.

  • Assessment

The Human Resource Development Authority approves the candidates’ applications, provided they are compatible with the criteria of the system of vocational qualifications. In this case, the candidates can proceed for assessment.

The assessment of learning outcomes is carried out by two approved assessors for every team of up to three candidates, in two to five meetings, of three-hour duration each, in an approved centre for the assessment of vocational qualifications. The centres for assessment of vocational qualifications may be public or private training centres, which are certified by the Human Resource Development Authority as vocational training centres and have certified training facilities.

The assessment is based on the vocational qualification standard and the main assessment method is the observation of candidates in real or simulated working conditions. The assessment of vocational qualifications may also include, depending on each standard, interview, oral exam, written exam and project. The results of the assessment are depicted on the report of candidate’s assessment.

The assessors are independent experts, certified trainers and should comply with specific academic and professional criteria. The assessors are trained by the Human Resource Development Authority and sign a contract regarding the terms of reference as assessors of the system of vocational qualifications.

As far as the quality assurance is concerned, every centre for the assessment of vocational qualifications is obliged to carry out at least one internal audit during each team’s assessment, to provide internal quality assurance for each assessment. Additionally, each assessment is externally verified through an on the spot visit by an independent verifier authorised by Human Resource Development Authority. The results of the checks’ verifications are depicted in separate reports.

  • Certification

Candidates’ assessment reports are submitted to Human Resource Development Authority, which validates the results of the assessments. Τhe successful assessment of the candidates in all task areas constituting the vocational qualification standard and all methods of assessment is the necessary condition for the certification of the candidates.

The Human Resource Development Authority being the awarding body approves the assessment through the relevant documentation and proceeds to the certification of the candidate. If a candidate has succeeded in only a part of the qualification task areas, an affirmation (partial certification) is provided only for these task areas. In these cases, the candidate is given the opportunity of reassessment in the failed tasks and/or methods of assessment.

Also accredited vocational training centres offer training programmes which are based on the vocational qualifications standards and prepare participants for assessment and certification.

The council of ministers on 18 May 2017 ([31]Decision No 82.592.) approved the establishment of the national qualifications authority, with the powers to further enhance the quality assurance systems in education and training, to monitor and integrate the scheme for the validation of non-formal and informal learning in the Cyprus qualifications framework after its completion, to monitor the Cyprus qualifications framework/European qualifications framework levels on the certificates, diplomas and Europass documents, to further strengthen the legal aspect of the Cyprus qualifications framework and to develop a registry for the Cyprus qualifications framework:

  • for the secondary VET (IVET) ([32]It does not apply in the case of preparatory apprenticeship.) the respective inspector of each field of study ([33]The term ‘field of study’ (κλάδος) is broader than the term ‘specialisation’ (ειδικότητα), as it includes several specialisations.
    In these terms the field of study ‘mechanical engineering’ includes four specialisations: ‘mechanical engineering’, ‘vehicle technology’, ‘building services engineering’, and ‘natural gas transmission and distribution’.
    ) is responsible for the proper implementation of the IVET curricula and ensures that the teaching material is adequately covered by using effective teaching methods. The constant assessment of the progress of learners, alongside with a final examination are instrumental for the evaluation of an educator’s work;
  • for tertiary education there are two bodies responsible for Quality assurance, one is the Cyprus council for the recognition of higher education qualifications, an independent body responsible for the recognition of diplomas awarded by higher education institutions and the other is the Cyprus Agency for Quality Assurance and Accreditation in Higher Education ([34]Cyprus Agency for Quality Assurance and Accreditation in Higher Education (CYQAA) was established on the basis of the ‘Quality Assurance and Accreditation of Higher Education and the Establishment and Operation of an Agency on Related Matters Law, of 2015,’ and is responsible is to ensure the quality of higher education in Cyprus and to support, through the procedures provided by the relevant legislation for the continuous improvement and upgrading of higher education institutions and their programs of study. More information available at: http://www.dipae.ac.cy/index.php/en/cyqaa), an independent body responsible for the external evaluation and accreditation of all higher education institutions;
  • for continuing VET (CVET) the body responsible is the Human Resource Development Authority. Quality is assured by checking the programmes that a training provider wishes to implement and by accreditation of these providers (a vocational training centre status is granted). Also, accreditation of vocational training facilities and trainers for vocational training (system of vocational qualifications/Cyprus qualifications framework/European qualifications framework level 5) is granted after appropriate qualitative assessment.

In 2013, the education ministry set up an interdepartmental committee with the task to develop and monitor the implementation of a comprehensive action plan for the validation of non-formal and informal learning, in line with the Council Recommendation of 20 December 2012 on the validation of non-formal and informal learning (2012/C 398/01). The action plan was successfully developed.

The council of ministers on 18 May 2017 ([35]Decision No 82.592.) approved the establishment of the national qualifications authority, with the powers to further enhance the quality assurance systems in education and training, to monitor and integrate the scheme for the validation of non-formal and informal learning in the Cyprus qualifications framework after its completion, to monitor the Cyprus qualifications framework/European qualifications framework levels on the certificates, diplomas and Europass documents, to further strengthen the legal aspect of the Cyprus qualifications framework and to develop a registry for the Cyprus qualifications framework.

The education ministry coordinates the implementation of the project ‘Establishing a mechanism for the validation of non-formal and informal learning’. The project is co-funded by the European social fund and the Republic of Cyprus.

This project has supported a mapping study of the current situation in Cyprus regarding the validation of non-formal and informal learning. Based on the results of the study, an overall national action plan for the establishment of mechanisms for the validation of non-formal and informal learning in Cyprus was developed in early 2018. This was put into public consultation in May 2018. In October 2018, the council of ministers, with Decision No 85.959, dated 16 October 2018, approved the national action plan, which foresees setting up a validation mechanism and its pilot implementation. The first results from the pilot operation of the mechanism in the fields of adult education, youth and volunteering are estimated to be available at the end of 2019.

In the system of vocational qualifications a validation procedure consisted of four phaseshas been developed. The procedure is aligned with the European Recommendation on Validation of non-formal and informal learning ([36]Council Recommendation 2012/C398/01.).

The four phases are:

  • identification: at this stage the learning outcomes gained through formal, non-formal and informal learning are determined. The identification takes place in approved by Human Resource Development Authority centres for assessment of vocational qualifications. As first step information on the system of vocational qualifications is provided to the candidate and through an interview they are advised to choose a specific qualification standard, relevant to their set of knowledge, skills, competence. The results of this phase are described in the identification and documentation report;
  • documentation: This phase entails sufficient proof of the previously identified knowledge, skills, competence. The results are recorded in the identification and documentation report. If the candidates decide to proceed with the assessment in order to acquire the certificate of the vocational qualification they have to fill and sign an application form. When a group of three candidates is formed the director/manager of the centre for assessment of vocational qualifications submits the application forms and all paperwork to the Human Resource Development Authority for approval;
  • assessment: if the Human Resource Development Authority approves the applications which are examined against the criteria of the system of vocational qualifications the candidates may proceed with assessment. This is carried out by two approved assessors in 2 to 5 meetings and is based on the relevant vocational qualification standard. The results are depicted in the assessment report. The assessors are trained by Human Resource Development Authority;
  • certification. The assessment reports are submitted to Human Resource Development Authority, the results are validated, and full or partial certification is given.

For more information about arrangements for the validation of non-formal and informal learning please visit Cedefop’s European database ([37]https://cumulus.cedefop.europa.eu/files/vetelib/2016/2016_validate_CY.pdf)

Allowances, meals and travel subsidy

  • the provision of secondary technical vocational education including evening technical education, the apprenticeship system and public tertiary vocational education are free of charge;

Study leave for employees

  • educational leave schemes, which are applied in the public sector in Cyprus, provide public-sector employees with the opportunity to take educational leave for studies which are relevant to their job provided that they are awarded a scholarship from, through or with the approval of the government or any other authority approved by the Council of Ministers;
  • in some sectors, leave of absence for education and training purposes is included in the collective agreements, thereby ensuring a certain level of education and training. Such sectors are the hotel industry, banking sector, cabinet making and carpentry industry and private clinics.

Incentives for the unemployed

The VET programmes for adults which are implemented by public and private institutions, are provided free of charge and participants receive training allowances which are paid by the Human Resource Development Authority. The amount of the allowance varies depending on the programme.

The financing provided by the European social fund has played an important role in the promotion of participation due to the increased level of funds available which led to the introduction of new training programmes. Many training programmes that are co-financed by the European social fund are addressed to the unemployed and groups at risk of exclusion from the labour market.

Wage subsidy and training remuneration

The funds of the Human Resource Development Authority come from the human resource development levy of 0.5% on the payroll of employers excluding the government.

Enterprises are directly involved in vocational training for adults and prepare and submit training programmes to the Human Resource Development Authority on a continuous basis. In general, the subsidisation covers 80% of the eligible total costs. The Human Resource Development Authority provides subsidies to the employers. In the case of single-company initial and continuing training programmes ([40]The single-company training programmes in Cyprus provide incentives to employers to design and organise in-company training programmes, implemented by internal or external trainers, to meet the specific needs of the enterprise for the effective utilisation of its personnel. The single-company training programmes abroad provide incentives employers to participate with their personnel in training programmes abroad to transfer specialised knowledge and skills in areas related to the introduction of innovation, new technology and technical know-how;), eligible costs include the cost of trainers, the personnel cost for trainees, administrative expenses and cost of training materials.

As regards the multi-company continuing training programmes ([41]The training programmes are implemented by accredited vocational training centres, at accredited vocational training facilities by certified trainers of vocational training. The programmes are subsidised by the Human Resource Development authority:
- multi-company training programmes provide continuing training for meeting the training needs of employed and unemployed persons through their participation in training programmes implemented by public or private training institutions and organisations. They cover a broad range of issues in all operations of the enterprise and in all occupations;
- high-priority multi-company training programmes provide continuing training to meet the training needs of employed persons through their participation in training programmes in specific high-priority issues.
Employees from different companies attend these programmes.
), the Human Resource Development Authority provides the subsidies directly to the training providers and the employer covers the remaining cost.

Enhancing the provision of guidance and counselling services to all population groups is a policy priority for Cyprus. The main bodies delivering guidance and counselling in Cyprus are the Counselling and Career Education Service (CCES) of the education ministry, the employment service, and the Euroguidance centre Cyprus of the labour ministry, the Human Resource Development Authority, the youth board of Cyprus and certain private organisations. Guidance is provided to students in secondary and tertiary education, to both the unemployed and employed as well as to the economically inactive.

An important development with regard to guidance was the establishment in March 2012 of the national forum on lifelong guidance, which was a basic step in the upgrading of all guidance and counselling services in Cyprus. Its mission is to act as an advisory body to the government policy makers in the field of lifelong guidance. All major stakeholders, such as the education ministry, the labour ministry, the Human Resource Development Authority the youth board of Cyprus and the social partners are represented in the Forum.

Guidance and counselling for students is provided mainly by the education ministry, the Euroguidance centre in Cyprus of the labour ministry, the Human Resource Development Authority and the youth board of Cyprus.

The counselling service provides counselling to students which aims at the development of their personal awareness related to their needs, interests, abilities, and skills. In this way they can take informed decisions about their personal lives, education and careers.

The whole process of achieving personal awareness is facilitated through educational and vocational guidance/counselling throughout upper secondary education. In addition, to become acquainted with the world of work, the students have the opportunity to attend presentations given by professionals in different fields and visit workplaces. Each school organises career days where professionals and staff from higher education institutions give lectures to students. Personal and group counselling, administration and analysis of psychometric tests along with presentations to classes of all levels, are provided to students by qualified guidance school counsellors. Also, school counsellors give lectures to parents to inform them about the educational options of their children.

The counsellors have undergone post-graduate education in counselling and/or career education/guidance. They are placed in schools of secondary education as well as at the central and regional offices of the counselling service offices of the education ministry. The counsellors at the central offices give support to the counsellors placed in schools and they are also responsible for many publications that address the needs of the counselling and career education service. They also provide counselling and career guidance services to the public.

An open school day, organised by the Department of Secondary Technical and Vocational Education and Training (STVET), has been established to raise public awareness and increase initial VET attractiveness. During the open school day, students of the third year of lower secondary education and their parents are given the opportunity to visit a technical school of their choice and be guided by teachers and students to the various facilities of the school. Moreover, an exhibition of the students’ achievements is organised at each technical school, to further promote awareness of the career possibilities provided by initial VET programmes.

Additionally, students attending technical schools receive traineeships in the specialisation of their choice as part of their curriculum. Furthermore, the third year of studies in the practical direction of technical schools combines a school-based environment with a real workplace as final-year students are placed in industry for one day per week, where they follow a practical training programme.

Each year, the education ministry organises the international education fair where the students and other interested parties receive educational information about universities´ study programmes, entrance requirements, fees and scholarships. Over 200 higher education institutions and universities from 35 countries, as well as the national universities and colleges usually attend the fair.

The Cyprus guidance and counsellors association, member of the Organisation of secondary school teachers of Cyprus, also organises an annual careers fair and more than 150 organised professional bodies and organisations participate.

The British Council and the education USA, a USA Department of State network, with the participation of different universities and colleges from the UK and the USA respectively, also organise education fairs, to provide information to prospective students for further studies in these countries. In recent years, education fairs are also organised by institutions of other countries.

Please see:

Vocational education and training system chart

Tertiary

Click on a programme type to see more info
Programme Types

EQF 5

Higher professional

Programmes,

2-3 years

ISCED 554

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

554

Usual entry grade

12

Usual completion grade

Not applicable

Usual entry age

18

Usual completion age

18+

Length of a programme (years)

3 (up to)

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

Y

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

only for Cypriot and EU students and only in public institutions

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

Each accredited two–year programme of study offered at the formerly known as post-secondary institutes (MIIEK) of VET awards 120 ECTS ([51]The formerly known as post-secondary institutes of VET (MIEEK), as public schools of higher VET (since 2017), offer two-year accredited programmes (European qualifications framework level 5), leading to the acquisition of a diploma of higher VET, which can be recognised by universities in the case of graduates who wish to pursue university studies in a relevant field. In Cyprus the standard formula used for each credit point per year is 25-30 of work load hours per credit point. The Cyprus law [Law 136 (Ι)/2015]) states that programmes should be designed according to the guidelines of ECTS and ECVET as they were declared in Ministerial meetings in the context of the European Higher Education Area. https://www.dipae.ac.cy/archeia/nomothesia/nomothesia_2015_peri_diasfalisis_pistopoiisis_poiotitas_anoteris_ekpaidefsis_el.pdf
Cyprus Agency for Quality Assurance and Accreditation in Higher Education issued a statement clarifying the number of hours per ECTS and the number of ECTS per programme. https://www.dipae.ac.cy/index.php/el/nea-ekdiloseis/anakoinoseis-el/102-2017-03-06-ects-2
).

The accredited programmes of study are the following ([52]Text in apostrophes refers to the specialisation fields.
):

  • 'bakery – confectionery'
  • 'computer and communication networks'
  • 'electromechanical and industrial refrigeration installations'
  • 'CNC technology – woodworking industry'
  • 'dairy technology – cheese making'
  • 'organic vegetable crops'
  • 'purchasing and supply management – shipping'
  • 'industrial and residential automation'
Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)
  • in-company practice
  • practical training at schools

In-company practice, i.e. work based learning (industrial placements) lasts for six weeks per academic year. Suitable enterprises and industrial units are selected on the basis that they have the capacity to provide learners with the necessary skills and competences required for their chosen programme of study.

Practical training at schools is provided at the workshops of the technical and vocational schools of education and training where the institutes operate.

Main providers

Department of Secondary Technical and Vocational Education and Training (STVET)

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

Information not available ([53]There is work-based-learning enterprises as part of the programme however information on the share of work-based learning is not available .)

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

Information not available

Main target groups

Programmes are available for people (adults) with upper secondary level (EQF4) certificate (either from general education or VET). Higher education places are rather limited in Cyprus so many young Cypriots enrol to institutions abroad.

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

Learners must hold an upper secondary level certificate (EQF4) (general education or VET).

Assessment of learning outcomes
  • semester, and often mid-term examinations;
  • workshop and laboratory assignments;
  • project work and industrial training are also assessed and taken into consideration when assigning final marks;
  • In addition to the course modules, participants may be expected to prepare and submit a final project.
Diplomas/certificates provided

Information not available

Examples of qualifications

Tourist guide, police chief constable, police commissioner, cook, graphic designer ([54]As described in ILO: international standard classification of occupations: ISCO 08. http://www.ilo.org/public/english/bureau/stat/isco/)

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Those who complete VET can enter the labour market or they can continue their studies at EQF level 6 (only in a specialisation relevant to their diploma).

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Information not available

General education subjects

Information not available

Key competences

Information not available

Application of learning outcomes approach

Information not available

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

Information not available

Post-secondary

Programme Types
Not available

Secondary

Click on a programme type to see more info
Programme Types

EQF 3

Apprenticeship

(Preparatory level),

1-2 years

Initial VET programmes leading to EQF level 3 (Apprenticeship (preparatory level)) (Προπαρασκευαστική Μαθητεία)
EQF level
3
ISCED-P 2011 level

Not applicable

Usual entry grade

8

Usual completion grade

9

Usual entry age

13

Usual completion age

16

Length of a programme (years)

2 (up to)

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

Is it part of formal education and training system?

N

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

N

It is considered IVET

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

Is it available for adults?

N

Preparatory apprenticeship is not available to adults

ECVET or other credits

Not applicable

Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)
  • work practice in enterprises
  • participation in workshops
Main providers

The main provider is the education ministry.

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 practice
  • workshops
Main target groups

Young people aged 14-16 who have withdrawn from the formal education system.

They receive individual counselling according to their needs.

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

Learners must be at least 14 years old to enrol.

Assessment of learning outcomes

Assessment of preparatory apprenticeship students is a combination of their attendance and conduct record throughout the year, their individual project work throughout the year and their performance at final exams in Greek language and mathematics.

Diplomas/certificates provided

Preparatory Apprenticeship Certificate (Πιστοποιητικό Προπαρασκευαστικής Μαθητείας).

Preparatory Apprenticeship Certificate allows access to several regulated occupations (e.g. building contractor and electrician) provided that all other requirements of the relevant legislation are met.

Examples of qualifications

Not applicable

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Those who complete preparatory apprenticeship can enrol to core apprenticeship (EQF 3) or continue their studies to EQF 4 (upper secondary technical and vocational education or upper secondary general education) provided they succeed in a special set of exams.

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Information not available

General education subjects

General education programmes constitute the main part of this programme, since learners attending preparatory apprenticeship are taught maths, modern Greek, English, computers, music, theatre, art, physical education and technology.

Key competences

Y

Numeracy skills (maths), mother tongue (Greek language), digital skills

Application of learning outcomes approach

Information not available

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

Information not available ([44]In the academic year 2018/19 about 71 learners were enrolled onto preparatory apprenticeship. However, this number is not included in VET statistics.)

EQF 3

Apprenticeship

(Core-level),

WBL ca. 70%,

3 years

Initial VET programmes leading to EQF level 3, apprenticeship (core-level) (Νέα Μαθητεία)
EQF level
3
ISCED-P 2011 level

Not applicable

Usual entry grade

10

Usual completion grade

12

Usual entry age

15

Usual completion age

18

Length of a programme (years)

3 (up to)

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

N

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

Is it available for adults?

N

Maximum completion age is 21 (however adults cannot enrol into core apprenticeship).

ECVET or other credits

Not applicable

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

>=70%

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

Programmes are available for early leavers from education (i.e. young people, including adults, up to the age of 18 years old, who have either completed a lower secondary program (EQF2) or preparatory apprenticeship or dropped out of upper secondary programmes.

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

Learners must be between 15-18 years old to enrol.

  • minimum age: 15
  • maximum age: 18
  • previously acquired qualification/education level: lower secondary education leaving certificate ([45]In Greek: Απολυτήριο Γυμνασίου.) or Preparatory Apprenticeship Certificate ([46]In Greek: Πιστοποιητικό Προπαρασκευαστικής Μαθητείας.)
Assessment of learning outcomes

Assessment of apprentices for the theoretical training they receive in technical schools follows the rules of the education system with regular tests and final examinations. During the practical training, apprentices are assessed by their supervisors and their grades appear on the apprenticeship certificate (EQF level 3).

Diplomas/certificates provided

Apprenticeship certificate (Πιστοποιητικό Μαθητείας)

It allows access to several regulated occupations (e.g. building contractor and electrician) provided that all other requirements of the relevant legislation are met.

Examples of qualifications

Currently, the apprenticeship system in Cyprus offers the following specialisations ([47]Text in apostrophes refers to the names of specialisations in the national context.
):

  • 'car mechanics'
  • 'plumbing/central heating'
  • 'welding/metal constructions'
  • 'bakery/confectionery'
  • 'carpentry/furniture making'
  • 'electrical installations'
  • 'home appliances technicians'
Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Those who complete VET can enter the labour market or continue their studies at EQF level 4 (only in evening schools which they can complete in two years instead of four).

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Information not available

General education subjects

Information not available

Key competences

Information not available

Application of learning outcomes approach

Information not available

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

2.6% ([48]The data is for the 2018/19 school year and it’s the share of VET learners enrolled in this programme type compared with the total number of VET learners enrolled in upper secondary VET programmes)

EQF 4

School-based and

mainly school-based programmes,

incl. WBL,

3 years

ISCED 354

Initial VET programmes leading to EQF level 4, ISCED 354 (Μέση Δευτεροβάθμια τεχνική και επαγγελματική εκπαίδευση)
EQF level
4
ISCED-P 2011 level

354

Usual entry grade

10

Usual completion grade

12

Usual entry age

15

Usual completion age

18

Length of a programme (years)

3 (4 for evening schools)

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

Y

The three year programmes offer, at limited fees, continuing education and training to employed or unemployed adults, to respond more efficiently to the contemporary demands of the labour market and achieve re-integration in the labour market in areas where there is shortage of skilled workers.

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

Information not applicable

Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)
  • school-based learning (contact studies)
  • work practice (practical training at school and in-company practice)
Main providers
  • 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)
  • in-company practice (for learners of the practical direction)
  • workshops at schools

For the theoretical direction, the percentage of general education subjects is 70%, while the percentage of technological and workshop subjects is 30%. For the practical direction, the percentage of general education subjects and the percentage of technological and workshop subjects is 50% respectively.

Main target groups

Programmes are available for young people but also for adutls.

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

Learners must hold a lower secondary certificate (EQF2) or a new apprenticeship certificate, or pass special exams (for learners of the preparatory apprenticeship (EQF2).

Assessment of learning outcomes

The criteria used to assess students include class participation, workshop and laboratory work, written assignments, projects, tests and a final examination.

Diplomas/certificates provided

School leaving certificates (απολυτήρια) are awarded upon successful completion and also provide access to regulated occupations, provided that all other requirements of the relevant legislation are met.

Examples of qualifications

Beautician, hairdresser, bartender ([49]As described in ILO: international standard classification of occupations: ISCO 08. http://www.ilo.org/public/english/bureau/stat/isco/)

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Those who complete VET can enter the labour market or continue their studies at EQF level 5 and EQF level 6.

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Information not available

General education subjects

Y

Both two directions, theoretical (θεωρητική) and practical (πρακτική), of formal upper secondary VET combine general education subjects with technological and workshop subjects.

Key competences

Information not available

Application of learning outcomes approach

Information not available

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

96.0% ([50]The data is for the 2018/19 school year and it’s the share of VET learners enrolled in this programme type compared with the total number of VET learners enrolled in Upper Secondary VET programmes.
)

VET available to adults (formal and non-formal)

Programme Types
Not available