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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

Main features of the VET system include:

  • in the last ten years participation in VET increased by more than 70% ([1]TodoFP:
    http://www.todofp.es/sobre-fp/informacion-general/sistema-educativo-fp/fp-actual.html
    );
  • in the same period, early leaving from education and training has considerably decreased but is still below the national target;
  • in VET programmes managed by the education authorities, males are the majority of learners: 71.1% in basic VET, 56.9% in intermediate VET and 52.4% in higher VET programmes ([2]More information on their repartition among professional sectors in: Sancha, I.; Gutiérrez, S. (2019). Vocational education and training in Europe: Spain, Annex_T_5/2. Cedefop ReferNet VET in Europe reports 2018.
    http://libserver.cedefop.europa.eu/vetelib/2019/Vocational_Education_Training_Europe_Spain_2018_Cedefop_ReferNet.pdf
    );
  • 50% of VET learners are found in three professional branches: health, administration and management; information and communications technology; and sociocultural and community services;
  • the number of apprenticeships/dual VET learners ([3]Dual VET, in the national context refers to all types of VET which combine work and learning with the aim to obtain vocational qualifications, which may or not take the form of apprenticeship contracts.) is slowly increasing but is still a minority option compared to school-based programmes.

Distinctive features ([4]Adapted from Cedefop (2015). Spotlight on VET in Spain. Luxembourg: Publications Office.
http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/en/publications-and-resources/publications/8104
)

The Spanish constitution provides the right to education and retraining, which public authorities have to promote. Initial vocational education and training (VET) is the responsibility of education authorities; continuous training is the responsibility of employment authorities. The national system for qualifications and vocational training is the umbrella for VET programmes, leading to formal qualifications awarded by either the education or employment authorities: they share the same consultation bodies but the governance and objectives of their VET qualifications and programmes differ.

Mutual recognition of some parts of the training (modules), acquired in training programmes offered by the education or employment authorities, is possible as both take as reference the occupational standards of the national catalogue ([5]The National catalogue of occupational standards (Catálogo Nacional de Cualificaciones Profesionales - CNCP) comprises the most important occupations of the Spanish sector.).

VET programmes are modularised and include compulsory workplace learning at the end of, or during, studies. Learners need to pass all modules to obtain the relevant qualification. However, modularisation allows partial certification and re-engagement from a lifelong learning perspective.

The introduction of basic VET programmes (ISCED 353) and direct access to intermediate VET (ISCED 354) programmes in upper secondary have opened up progression routes for youngsters at risk of dropping out of compulsory education and, in some cases, for adults with low or no qualifications. Adults may have their skills recognised or acquire a formal qualification through training. Key competences tests have been developed for advanced VET programmes and professional certificate access. VET programmes using online or virtual learning environments and platforms are being developed to ease access to VET.

It is possible to acquire VET qualifications through dual VET. The dual principle (apprenticeship contracts or other alternance schemes) has been implemented nationally to increase VET attractiveness and support young people in transition to the labour market, though there are territorial differences in its implementation.

There are common regulations for validating skills acquired through non-formal and informal learning and work experience. These procedures empower citizens to engage in further learning and acquire full qualifications. Demand for recognition may be driven by company needs, social partner requests or minimum qualification requirements from sectoral regulatory bodies. Regional authorities can initiate public calls for validation of non-formal and informal learning, depending on local or sectoral labour market needs.

In response to the significant increase in youth unemployment in recent years, current VET policy focuses on:

  • reducing early leaving from education and training;
  • improving citizens’ qualification levels and employability;
  • implementing the dual principle (apprenticeship-type training);
  • implementing e-learning and appropriate assessment criteria and quality assurance;
  • evaluating the VET system to improve its quality and efficiency;
  • improving VET attractiveness, engaging companies in VET and maintaining its labour market relevance;
  • aligning VET qualifications with labour market needs and skills forecasts and with sectoral needs;
  • developing a comprehensive national qualifications framework and improving implementation of other European tools and principles to promote labour and training mobility and support lifelong learning.

The 2013 education reform aimed to improve VET standards and make VET more attractive to young people. It sought to meet their interests and encourage them to progress in their qualification by introducing flexible learning paths in secondary education and VET programmes.

VET is also the main pillar of the national strategy for entrepreneurship and youth employment (2013-16) and the Spanish strategy for employment activation (2014-16). Several VET-related short-term measures are being implemented at national and regional levels. The effectiveness, efficiency and quality of VET under the remit of the employment authorities are assessed annually. However, assessment results need to inform decision-making on VET offers.

The Reform of vocational training for employment within the labour sphere in 2015 aimed to increase continuing VET quality and improve management of public funds. This is to be guaranteed through accreditation of VET providers and by offering training leading to formal qualifications. Monitoring training outcomes, including transition to employment, will also support training quality; a common training database is being developed for this. Social partners and regional authorities participate in continuing VET quality assurance. ([6]Data adapted from Cedefop (2016). Spotlight on VET in Spain. Luxembourg: Publications Office.
http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/en/publications-and-resources/publications/8104
)

Population in 2018: 46 658 447 ([7]NB: Data for population as of 1 January. Eurostat table tps00001 [extracted 16.5.2019].)

Population has slightly decreased in recent years (-0.1%) ([8]NB: data for population as of 1 January. Eurostat table tps00001 [extracted 16.5.2019].). The fall was small partly thanks to positive net migration since 2016.

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

The old-age dependency ratio is expected to increase from 28 in 2015 to 54 in 2060 ([9]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 VET.

Medium-term forecasts indicate that an important proportion of job openings will mainly come from the need to replace workers retiring or changing occupations, which will require qualified people through VET ([10]http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/en/news-and-press/news/spain-skills-anticipation-and-future-sectoral-training-needs-outlook-and-challenges).

According to the constitution, Spanish is the official language of the State. Other languages, such as Basque, Catalan, Galician, or Valencian are also official in the respective Autonomous Communities. Regional authorities should ensure education in the official languages. Some VET providers also offer VET programmes in a foreign language.

Most companies are micro companies with fewer than 10 employees (90%)

 

Companies by number of employees in 2018

Source: INE. Companies by Autonomous Community, main activity (CNAE 2009 groups) and wage earner stratum. http://www.ine.es/jaxiT3/Tabla.htm?t=298&L=1 [extracted 14.6.19].

 

The economy grew by 3.1% in 2017 ([11]Eurostat, Real GDP growth rate – volume. Percentage change on previous year (tec00115). Last update 13.6.2018 [extracted 14.6.2018].), surpassing the European average and forecasts.

The Spanish economy shows a growing evolution towards a service economy, though in 2017 construction, the primary sector, and industry (primarily manufacturing) contributed more to GDP growth.

 

GDPmp according to components 2017 (%)

Source: INE (2018). Spain in figures 2018.

 

All economic sectors experienced a rise in employment in 2017, with three out of four employed workers in the service sector. In 2017, the share of employees increased by 2.6% compared to 2016. Employment grew in most branches of economic activity, especially in the primary sector (5.8%)

Employees by economic activity in 2017

Employed

%

Variation

Total

100

2.6

Agriculture

4.4

5.8

Industry

14.1

5

Construction

6

5.1

Services

75.6

1.9

Source: INE (2018). Spain in figures 2018.

The number of companies with employees grew by 1.75% compared with 2016, representing 44.45% of businesses in 2017.

A limited number of occupations/professions is regulated.

For some jobs, it is necessary to hold a certificate of professional competence (CAP, certificado de aptitud professional), for example, electrical and gas technicians. These certificates can be obtained by accrediting a full vocational qualification (VET diploma from the education system), a professional certificate (CdP, from the employment system) or partial qualification (units of competence, UC). In the absence any of these, it is also possible in some cases to receive specific training and take a test. Training providers in such cases must be recognised or certified by the authority in charge. Regional authorities are responsible for issuing certificates of professional competence (CAP).

The total unemployment rate ([12]Percentage of active population, 25 to 74 years old.) in 2018 was 13.9% (6% in EU-28); it has increased by 4.2 percentage points since 2008 ([13]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.
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 on 16.5.2019]

 

Unemployment rates correlate with education attainment. Although unemployment has been decreasing steadily since 2013, in 2018 at ISCED levels 3 and 4 (where most VET learners are found) it was still considerably higher than ten years before. For those aged 15 to 24 it is more than twice as high as in the total population with the same level qualifications ([14]31.2% and 13.8% respectively.).

The employment rate of 20 to 34 year-old VET graduates increased from 67.2% in 2014 to 75.8% 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].

 

In 2014-18, the increase in employment of 20-34 year-old VET graduates was higher (+8.6 pp) compared to the increase in employment of all 20-34 year-old graduates (+7.8 pp) in the same period ([15]NB: Break in series. Eurostat table edat_lfse_24 [extracted 16.5.2019].).

The share of the adult population aged 25 to 64 with high- level qualifications (ISCED 5-8) (39.9%) is higher in Spain that in the EU-28 (32.2%). In contrast, the share of those with medium-level qualifications (ISCED 3-4) is the lowest (22.9%) in the EU-28 while the share of those up to 64 with no or low qualifications was 39.9%, one of the highest in the EU.

 

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

NB: Data based on ISCED 2011; 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

1.3%

35.3%

100.0%

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].

 

There are considerably more males in education authority VET programmes at all three levels: 71.1% in basic VET ISCED 353, and 56.9% and 52.4%, respectively in intermediate and higher VET. There are significant differences between professional branches.

Female students generally prefer pathways in personal image, sociocultural and community services and health.

The maritime and fishing industry sector attracts only male students, which are also in the majority in transport and vehicle maintenance, electricity and electronics, metal working and information and communications technology.

The share of early leavers from education and training has decreased from 30.9% in 2009 to 17.9% in 2018. It is still above the national target for 2020 of not more than 15%, 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].

 

Unemployment correlates with educational attainment. Since 2013, learner dropout from schools, among the 18-24 age group without at least a medium level qualification (upper secondary), has been a major concern for education and labour authorities. Basic VET programmes, introduced in 2014, aim to offer an attractive option for learners to remain in or return to education and training.

In 2018, the share of early leavers reached 17.9%, with a fall of 13 points in the last 10 years, though it did not reach the national target of 15% in over seven regions. It is lower among women and higher in the foreign population (35.8% compared to 15.9% among Spaniards).

 

Early leavers from education and training in the EU-28 and Spanish regions in 2017

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

 

According to the latest national survey on the participation of the adult population in learning activities ([16]INE (2018). Encuesta sobre la participación de la población adulta en actividades de aprendizaje 2016 [Survey on the participation of the adult population in learning activities]. INE press release; 30.11.2017.
http://www.ine.es/prensa/eada_2016.pdf
), over 47% of the population between 18 and 64 years of age carried out some type of training activity (formal or non-formal) in 2016.

The share of people in lifelong learning aged 25 to 64 in 2018 is 10.5%, slightly below the EU-28 share (11.1%).

 

Share of students by age and VET level in 2015/16 ([17]Theoretical ages are those established by law and regulation for the entry and ending of a cycle of education. Theoretical ages may differ significantly from the typical ages.)

Source: ReferNet, 2018.

 

In formal education, two-year VET programmes are offered at all three levels to school-age learners; programmes are also accessible to adults:

  • lower secondary basic VET (ISCED 353) programmes target learners over 15; mostly at risk of dropping out; most learners (55.1%) are within the theoretical age ([18]Theoretical ages are those established by law and regulation for the entry and ending of a cycle of education. Theoretical ages may differ significantly from the typical ages.), 44.1% are older (up to 24), while the share of people over 25 enrolled in basic VET is insignificant (0.8%);
  • upper secondary intermediate VET (ISCED 354) programmes are for learners aged 17-18. Almost one third (31.5%) of learners are within the theoretical age, the majority are older (44.1% are up to 24 while 20.2% are over 25);
  • higher VET (ISCED 554) programmes for learners 18-19. Their age distribution with respect to the theoretical age is 19.3% within the theoretical age, 51.6% are at most 24 and 29.1% are over 25.

These data reflect a trend to re-engage in education and training to upskill for employment.

The Spanish education and training system includes:

  • early childhood (ISCED 0)
  • primary education (ISCED 1), six years (6-12);
  • compulsory lower secondary education (ISCED 2), four years (12-16);
  • post-compulsory upper secondary programmes (ISCED 3) ([19]There are two main orientations, a general academic route and intermediate level VET. Other programmes in arts or sports are also included at this level but with a low rate of students.)
  • higher VET programmes (ISCED 5);
  • higher education academic programmes (ISCED 6,7,8).

Compulsory education includes six years in primary (6-12) and four years in lower secondary (years 12-16). The age of 16 is the end of compulsory education, irrespective of the level of education achieved, but students of lower secondary education can stay on till 18 in some cases, in order to achieve a qualification.

Formal education general and vocational programmes are regulated by the Ministry of Education and Vocational Training (hereafter: education ministry). VET programmes are offered at three levels:

  • lower secondary basic VET (ISCED 353) programmes target learners over 15;
  • upper secondary intermediate VET (ISCED 354) programmes for learners aged 17-18;
  • higher VET (ISCED 554) programmes for learners 18-19.

To prevent early leaving from education and training, since 2014 basic VET programmes have been offered to learners at age 15 to gain skills and have the opportunity to complete lower secondary education (called ESO in the national context).

Initial VET programmes in the education system are mostly school-based at basic level; at intermediate and higher VET, more flexible learning forms are also possible (distance learning)

Outside the education system, for learners over 16, the Ministry of Labour, Migrations and Social Security (hereafter: employment authority) offers training programmes to acquire (credits of) competences (partial or full vocational qualifications) recognised by the State; these can be accumulated towards a professional certificate (CdPs) issued by the employment authorities or a VET diploma issued by the education ministry. Flexible learning forms (through e-learning platforms) allow learners to combine learning with personal and professional life.

Formal IVET (under the education remit)

Following the 2013 education reform, basic VET programmes have been available since 2014 in the education system for learners at age 15, in parallel to general secondary programmes. The education team recommend these programmes to learners for whom they offer best option to complete their training and/or avoid early leaving, as well as those at risk of dropping out early. Learners follow a Two-year programme to acquire a basic vocational qualification and have the possibility, under some conditions, to obtain the end of lower secondary certificate (ESO diploma) which ends compulsory education. Direct access to intermediate VET is possible with or without the ESO diploma.

Formal VET programmes run on two other levels: upper secondary intermediate VET (ISCED 354) and tertiary higher VET (ISCED 554). They deliver VET qualifications (VET diplomas) that have academic and professional validity.

Education authority VET programmes are modularised and include compulsory workplace learning at the end of, or during, studies. Learners need to pass all modules to obtain the relevant qualification. However, modularisation allows partial certification and re-engagement from a lifelong learning perspective.

Artistic, sports and foreign language education have their own organisation and are considered ‘specialised education’. Specific training programmes in arts and design and in sports are offered at ISCED levels 354 and 554 in schools, specialised according to the field of studies and level of education concerned. Foreign language education is organised according to the European Framework for learning, teaching and assessment of languages (CERF) ([20]https://www.coe.int/en/web/portfolio/the-common-european-framework-of-reference-for-languages-learning-teaching-assessment-cefr-).

Formal CVET (under the employment remit) Formal vocational qualifications (professional certificates, CdPs) are also offered by the employment authorities to learners over 16; professional certificates are recognised by the State. These programmes can be delivered face-to-face or as blended learning. In the latter, the State public employment service uses experts’ opinions to set the duration of instruction that will be provided in person according to the nature of the content or the need to use certain equipment or machinery. Learning which cannot take place via simulation must be completed in traditional learning settings, as must all final assessments.

Common characteristics of IVET and CVET qualifications

Both types of formal qualification, VET diplomas and professional certificates, are expressed in learning outcomes (resultados de aprendizaje o realizaciones profesionales) and are modular in nature. They are based on occupational standards listed in the national catalogue of occupational standards (CNCP) ([21]Catálogo Nacional de Cualificaciones Profesionales (CNCP).).

Learning forms (education authority VET):

  • school-based (full or part-time);
  • dual VET (apprenticeship contracts or learning agreements) ([22]See Section 7. Apprenticeship.);
  • face to face;
  • distance learning.

The share of WBL varies from 50% to 65% depending on the level. Practical training takes place in school workshops, laboratories, simulations; a compulsory practical placement in a company (of average 400 hours, depending on the level) is included in all VET programmes/levels.

When the programme is delivered in dual VET ([23]Dual refers to all types of VET which combine work and learning with the aim to obtain vocational qualifications, which may or not take the form of an apprenticeship contract (contrato para la formación y el aprendizaje).) ([24]Education authority dual VET:
http://todofp.es/sobre-fp/informacion-general/formacion-profesional-dual.html
), it may take the form of an apprenticeship contract (contrato para la formación y el aprendizaje) or a learning agreement. The programme duration may be extended from an original two years to three; in-company practical training covers 33% - 85% of the learning hours fixed in the qualification.

In case of dual VET without a contract, a learning agreement is to be signed between the company, the school and the learner. Participants have the status of student (no age limit applies) and may benefit from a scholarship, depending on the region. The agreement must comply with the prescribed working and training conditions set in the qualification, define the duration of the learning programme (two or three years) and the involvement of the company (minimum of 33% of the training hours fixed in the qualification, with a maximum share of 85%).

Learning forms (employment authority VET):

  • face-to-face learning;
  • distance learning through virtual learning environments (e-learning platforms) or blended learning (since 2015)
  • dual VET (apprenticeship contracts) ([25]See Section 7. Apprenticeship).

In employment authority vocational training programmes, classroom-based learning in a training centre (workshops, laboratories, simulations, etc.) is combined with a compulsory practical placement in a company, of variable length depending on the programme content.

When the programme is delivered through a dual VET/apprenticeship contract (contrato para la formación y el aprendizaje) the classroom-based learning covers at least 25% of working hours in the first year and 15% in the second and third year.

Adult learning

Adult training provision is large and diverse, including literacy processes and basic education, training targeting integration into the labour market, and leisure activities. It comprises different types of provision and programmes offered by the education, employment and local authorities.

The education authorities offer specific programmes of basic education for adults ([26]Primary and secondary education.); basic VET (ISCED 353) and intermediate VET (ISCED 354) programmes are also accessible to adults.

All post-compulsory education programmes are open to adults, including higher VET ISCED 554 programmes. These may or may not include flexible attendance arrangements to combine learning with personal and professional life.

The employment authorities organise a wide range of training actions for the unemployed with the aim of improving their employability and facilitating their integration into the labour market. This provision is integrated in the system of vocational training for employment, which includes other actions aimed primarily at employed workers. Unemployed people may also participate in some of these actions.

Dual VET

The dual principle, introduced by the Royal decree of 1529/2012 ([27]Royal Decree 1529/2012 of 8 November 2012 settling the apprenticeship contract (contrato para la formación y el aprendizaje) and the basis for dual training.), has been implemented nationally to increase VET attractiveness and support young people in transition to the labour market with territorial differences in its implementation. It refers to all types of VET which combine work and learning with the aim of obtaining vocational qualifications, which may take the form of an apprenticeship contract (contrato para la formación y el aprendizaje) in education or employment authority VET programmes), or without a contractual labour relationship (only in education VET programmes).

Since 2016, apprenticeships must be linked ([28]Since 2016.) to a VET programme leading to an official qualification, issued by the education authorities (VET diplomas) or the employment authorities (professional certificates, Certificados de Profesionalidad, CdPs). Training not leading to qualifications/certificates has since been discontinued, unless it is complementary to the qualification programme undertaken by the apprentice.

Dual VET ([29]http://todofp.es/sobre-fp/informacion-general/formacion-profesional-dual.html) is delivered through apprenticeship contracts or other alternance schemes. Different dual vocational training development models coexist, depending on the greater or lesser participation of the company in the training activities, from training exclusively in the training centre to exclusively in the company.

The apprenticeship contract

This type of contract (contrato para la formación y el aprendizaje) can be signed by 16 to 25 year-olds (or up to 30 until youth unemployment decreases) with low-level qualifications ([30]People with no university, higher (ISCED 554) or intermediate (ISCED 354) VET qualification or equivalent.), for one to three years. There is no age limit for people with disabilities or who experience social exclusion.

The salary is set by collective agreement in proportion to the actual working time and cannot be lower than the minimum wage. The effective working time (work-based learning), compatible with that dedicated to training activities, cannot be more than 75% of the maximum working time during the first year, or 85% during the second and third years. The remaining share to complete the VET programme (respectively 25% and 15%) is dedicated to theoretical learning in classroom-setting.

The use or not of apprenticeship contracts depends, apart from the learners’ age, on factors such as the regional regulation, which affects how dual projects (see below) are to be set in their territorial scope, or the company willingness.

Unemployed people with no formal qualifications hired through a training and apprenticeship contract benefit from a 100% reduction in social security contributions, total social protection and unemployment benefit

Companies turning apprenticeship contracts into permanent ones (at least three years) benefit from incentives (EUR 1 500 or EUR 1 800 for women). In the case of workers enrolled in the National youth guarantee system, this incentive, in the same percentages, will consist of a bonus.

Dual projects in formal VET (learning agreements)

Learners participating in dual VET projects within the education system ([31]http://todofp.es/sobre-fp/informacion-general/formacion-profesional-dual/fp-dual-en-sistema-educativo.html) may hold an apprenticeship contract, but most frequently they sign learning agreements ([32]See Section
6. VET within education and training system.
).

In the case of dual projects, participating VET providers must be authorised to offer dual VET, must have signed an agreement with companies within each specific industry, and their dual VET projects are to be carried out in a productive environment which complies with all suitable requirements for its implementation.

Some of the main features of learning agreements are that:

  • the company will participate in a minimum of 33% of the training hours fixed in the qualification. The maximum share is 85%;
  • the duration of the learning programme can be extended from the usual two years to three;
  • learners may undertake the practical in-company placement only after having completed the first part of the programme in a training centre. Each region has different regulations on when the placement can start;
  • student assessment is the responsibility of teachers at the school or VET institution, considering the opinion of in-company tutors and trainers and work performance.

The improvement and increase in dual projects in intermediate and higher VET programmes has meant growth in the number of students, training centres and companies involved in dual VET since 2012/13. However, dual projects are still a minority compared to classroom VET programmes. In the 2016/17 school year, those enrolled in education authority dual VET only represented 3% of total VET students.

The alliance for dual training (Alianza para la FP Dual) ([33]http://www.alianzafpdual.es/) is a private initiative and an active State-wide network of institutions, research centres and companies, in place since 2015; it has been supporting implementation of dual VET in some regions, especially in education authority VET programmes.

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

Legislation

The VET system is governed by Act 5/2002 on qualifications and vocational education and training (LOCFP) ([34]Head of State (2002). Ley Orgánica 5/2002, de 19 de junio, de las Cualificaciones y de la Formación Profesional [Organic Act 5/2002 of 19 June, on qualifications and vocational education and training]. Boletín Oficial del Estado, No 147, 20.6.2002, pp. 22437-22442.
https://www.boe.es/boe/dias/2002/06/20/pdfs/A22437-22442.pdf Ley Orgánica de las Cualificaciones y la Formación Profesional – LOCFP.
). This covers the training programmes included in initial and continuing VET, to enable skilling, upskilling and reskilling.

Education in Spain, including VET, is regulated by the 2006 Education Act (LOE) ([35]Head of State (2006). Ley Orgánica 2/2006, de 3 de mayo, de Educación [Organic Act 2/2006 of 3 May on Education]. Boletín Oficial del Estado, No 106, 4.5.2006, pp. 17158-17207.
https://www.boe.es/boe/dias/2006/05/04/pdfs/A17158-1207.pdf
) and the 2013 Act for the improvement of education quality (LOMCE) ([36]Head of State (2013). Ley Orgánica 8/2013, de 9 de diciembre, para la mejora de la calidad educativa [Organic Act 8/2013, of 9 December, for the improvement of educational quality]. Boletín Oficial del Estado, No 295, 10.12.2013, pp. 97858-97921.
https://www.boe.es/boe/dias/2013/12/10/pdfs/BOE-A-2013-12886.pdf
). Some measures for full implementation of the LOMCE law are pending.

Act 30/2015 ([37]Head of State (2015). Ley 30/2015, de 9 de septiembre, por la que se regula el sistema de formación profesional para el empleo en el ámbito laboral [Act 30/2015, of September 9, which regulates the vocational training for employment system in the labour scope]. Boletín Oficial del Estado, No 217, 10.9.2015, pp. 79779-79823.
https://www.boe.es/boe/dias/2015/09/10/pdfs/BOE-A-2015-9734.pdf
) regulates vocational training for employment; implementation of the new framework created is still under development.

Governance

The Ministry of Education and Vocational Training is responsible for national IVET policies, quality of IVET programmes and curricula.

The Ministry of Labour, Migrations and Social Security sets the policies for vocational training under its remit. The aim is to (up)skill and retrain the unemployed and employees, and to support employability matching skills with the needs of the local economy.

Implementation of VET policies is managed by the regions, which may shape (up to 35-45% of) IVET curricula based on local/territorial needs.

Implementation – advisory bodies

Main bodies involved in education:

  • at national level, the General Council for Vocational Training ([38]Consejo General de la Formación Profesional (CGFP).) is the Government advisory body on VET policy; it comprises representatives of education and employment authorities (at national and regional levels) as well as social partners (enterprises and trade unions);
  • the National Education Council ([39]Consejo Escolar del Estado.) is the education ministry advisory body publishing annual reports with recommendations for policy setting;
  • the sectoral education conference, made up of the minister of education and the relevant councillors of each region, may be held several times per year to coordinate education at national and regional levels.

Main bodies involved in vocational training for employment:

  • the General council for the national employment system (Consejo General del Sistema Nacional de Empleo) is the main consultative and participatory body for public authorities and social partners. In particular for VET issues, it carries out its functions through the training for employment State commission (Comisión estatal de formación para el empleo);
  • the sectoral conference on labour affairs (Conferencia Sectorial de Empleo y Asuntos Laborales) is the general instrument for coordination and cooperation between the central Government and the regions in employment policy. One of its functions is to distribute available funds between the regions;
  • the State foundation for training in employment (Fundación Estatal para la Formación en el Empleo – Fundae) ([40]Fundae:
    https://www.fundae.es
    ) is a public body comprising the State general administration, the regions and the most representative business and trade union organisations. It provides technical support to the State public employment service (SEPE), and to the labour ministry in the strategic development of the system of vocational training for employment in the work sphere.
  • joint sectoral structures ([41]Fundae - Comisiones paritarias sectoriales:
    https://www.fundae.es/Observatorio/Pages/Queson.aspx
    ) made up of the representative business and union organisations in each relevant sector ([42]They were redefined by Act 30/2015 in replacement of the joint sectoral commissions in place since 1993.). Their main task is to anticipate training needs and propose sectoral training based on their knowledge of the real productive environment; however, until Act 30/2015 is fully developed and provisions specifying their duties and ways of operating are defined, the joint sectoral commissions are still functioning.

Active labour market policies are agreed in the framework of the sectoral conference on labour affairs. The framework, coordination and implementation of these policies are based on three instruments: the Spanish strategy for employment activation, the annual plans for employment policy ([43]Plan anual de política de empleo (PAPE).) and the information system for public employment services. Regional public employment services ([44]PES.) design and manage their own policies based on this common framework, with a commitment to transparency, evaluation and results orientation.

Different types of institutions provide vocational training ([45]Integrated centres and private institutions can provide training programmes leading to both types of VET qualification (VET diplomas and professional certificates, issued, respectively by the education and employment VET authorities). VET providers per type of qualification are listed in each VET programme section.):

  • publicly-funded vocational training integrated institutions, which have autonomy regarding their organisation and management;
  • publicly-funded institutions offering vocational training;
  • national reference institutions, specialised in the different productive sectors, which are responsible for innovation and experimentation in vocational training. They may be owned and managed by different authorities;
  • public institutions of the national employment system ([46]The SEPE (State Public Employment Service) and the Public Employment Services of the Autonomous Regions conform to the National Employment System – a group of structures, measures and actions needed to promote employment policies. The most representative business organisations and trade unions are also involved.);
  • private authorised institutions of the national employment system offering vocational training for employment;
  • business organisations and trade unions, as well as other bodies benefiting from various funding schemes;
  • companies developing training actions.

Non-formal training CVET providers

Companies carrying out training activities (not leading to a State-recognised qualification) for their staff can hire external training providers or provide the training themselves. Funding for such activities comes mainly from business and worker contributions, collected and distributed countrywide. 70% of all companies that organised training for their employees in 2017 are micro SMEs with less than 10 employees ([47]More info at: Fundae (2019). Training for employment: key findings 2018.
https://www.fundae.es/Observatorio/Documents/Estad%C3%ADstica/Key%20findings%202018.pdf
).

There are subsidised training schemes (mainly through open calls for proposals) for different types of training activity for the (un)employed at no cost to learners (sectoral, cross-sectoral programmes for the (un)employed, public employment services training schemes for the unemployed).

Formal VET is mostly State-financed.

In education authority VET, most VET providers are public or publicly-funded; only one in four learners attends a private VET centre. Training centres which are 100% private do not receive public funds. Training always leads to a formal VET qualification (VET diplomas).

Qualifications in training for employment are delivered by private or public centres (integrated centres, national reference centres) accredited for each qualification. In some cases, providers can apply for public funds to cover expenses, with a cost limit per hour/per participant for each course leading to a formal VET qualification (professional certificates, CdPs).

 

Distribution (%) of public expenditure on education by activity 2017 (**)

NB: Provisional data. (*): Specialised ed., adult ed. and other types. (**): For the calculation of this distribution, adjustment and undistributed by activity items have been excluded.
Source: MEyFP (2019). Nota: Estadística del Gasto Público en Educación. Resultados provisionales Año 2017 [Note: Statistics of public expenditure on education: 2017 interim results] http://www.educacionyfp.gob.es/dms/mecd/servicios-al-ciudadano-mecd/estadisticas/educacion/recursos-economicos/gasto-publico/2017/2017NotaRes.pdf

 

Employment authority VET is funded mainly by contributions by companies and workers to social security ([48]The vocational training levy is calculated by multiplying by 0,70% company contributions for common contingencies and worker contributions to Social Security; 0,60% is provided by the company and the remaining 0,10%, by the worker.).

Funding for State-wide training schemes for the employed is managed by the State foundation for training in employment ([49]Fundae.) together with the State public employment service ([50]Servicio Público de Empleo Estatal (SEPE).). At regional level, training schemes are managed by the regional labour authorities. The national institute of public administration (INAP) manages training for civil servants.

Following the 2015 reform ([51]http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/en/news-and-press/news/spain-government-approves-reform-vocational-training), only authorised training providers are allowed to receive funds for training leading to State-recognised vocational qualifications. Therefore, employers’ organisations, trade unions and other organisations may deliver training under the condition that they are accredited or registered as ‘other training providers’.

 

Governance and target groups – Employment VET

Source: SEPE (2018). Informe Anual 2017 [Annual report 2017]. https://www.sepe.es/SiteSepe/contenidos/que_es_el_sepe/publicaciones/pdf/pdf_sobre_el_sepe/informe_anual_2017.pdf

 

Funds allocated for vocational training for employment come mainly from the State budget, through the training levy that all private companies must pay as part of the social security contribution. This is calculated by multiplying by 0.70% company contributions for common contingencies and worker contributions to social security; 0.60% is provided by the company and the remaining 0.10%, by the worker. Other contributions come from SEPE and the regions. Training actions may be jointly financed through the European Social Fund or other European funding.

These funds are allocated to different funding schemes, providing training free of charge for the unemployed and employees:

  • training organised by companies for their employees (formación programada por la empresa);
  • subsidised training schemes through open calls for proposals, such as sectoral and cross-sectoral training programmes for the (self-)employed, including those working in the social economy (cooperatives) (planes de formación intersectoriales, sectoriales, autónomos, y economía social);
  • subsidised training schemes for the unemployed, including ‘training plans’ (planes de formación) aimed at meeting needs identified by the public employment services and specific training programmes. These are funded through open calls for proposals;
  • other training initiatives, such as individual training leave (permisos individuales de formación, PIF), alternance training (formación en alternancia), civil servant training, training in prisons, among others. The way in which these initiatives are funded varies.

 

Allocation of funds according to training initiatives for employees in 2018

NB: (*) Ceuta and Melilla’s budget have been included in in the regional calls for proposals although managed by the State Foundation for Training in Employment (Fundae).
Source: Fundae (2019). Key findings 2018. Updated March 2019.
https://www.fundae.es/Observatorio/Pages/Balance-de-resultados.aspx

 

The 2006 Education Act and the 2013 Act for the improvement of educational quality ([52]LOMCE) regulate State-wide requirements for teaching staff, initial and continuing professional development (CPD), and the conditions for recognition, support and value of VET teachers. The same requirements apply for all secondary non-university education.

The main categories of VET teachers and trainers are:

In education authority VET programmes

  • secondary school teachers;
  • technical vocational teachers;
  • when necessary, experts in different professional sectors and in-company trainers (trainers/tutors involved in practical training modules at workplaces) can participate in training delivery.

In employment authority vocational programmes:

  • trainers/instructors, teaching theoretical technical content;
  • technical teachers, providing vocational technical and practical content in situations closer to the reality of work;
  • in-company trainers/tutors.

Formal requirements for VET teachers in formal education:

VET teachers must:

  • hold a university degree (ISCED 6);
  • hold a master degree (university master degree in teacher training);
  • undergo an internship at an education centre;
  • in public education, teachers have the status of civil servants, and need to pass a complex selection process to acquire such condition.

In-company trainers are experienced professionals who guide, monitor and assess apprentices; there are no formal teaching requirements for in-company trainers.

Formal requirements in the employment sphere

Requirements for trainers/instructors depend on the type of training to be provided. In the case of training linked to the national catalogue of occupational standards (CNCP), each professional certificate regulation sets the academic and teaching qualifications and experience that trainers must meet for each training module.

Trainers must generally hold a higher qualification than the one they are delivering, at least one year of experience, and some qualification on teaching methodology for adults.

In the case of training specialities not linked to the CNCP, requirements for trainers are set in terms of qualifications, professional experience and teaching competence.

Continuing professional development (CPD) is a right and a professional duty.

Education acts (LOE and LOMCE) ([53]Ley Orgánica de Educación 2006 (LOE) [2006 Organic Law on Education]. Ley Orgánica 8/2013 para la Mejora de la Calidad Educativa (LOMCE) [Organic Law No 8/2013 on improving education quality].) set a series of guidelines for CPD. The education authorities are responsible for planning, organising and recognising continuing professional development within their scope, providing teachers with a wide range of activities. The education ministry, through the National Institute for Education Technologies and Teacher Training (INTEF), offers permanent State-wide training programmes via agreements with other institutions. Autonomous regions, at regional level, also offer continuing professional training for teachers.

Teachers’ continuing professional development is associated with career and wage progression. A grading system takes into account training and work experience for regional and national mobility; and financial benefits (supplement for lifelong learning every six years worked cumulatively). Regional education authorities may run annual training plans (training plans are not compulsory in all regions) to organise continuing professional development activities in their territory.

The National Institute of Education Technologies and Teacher Training ([54]INTEF) is developing interactive and multimedia digital education resources (including professional training) in collaboration with the regions, to support social networking, integration of ICT in non-university education, and teachers’ digital skills. The digital competence passport allows teachers to measure and monitor ICT skills development.

In both the education and the employment strands, the national reference centres ([55]Centros de Referencia Nacional (CRN):
https://www.sepe.es/HomeSepe/Personas/formacion/centros-de-referencia-nacional/centros-referencia-nacional.html
) play a key role in teacher and trainer continuing professional development activities. They offer face-to-face training courses that aim to improve methodological and technical skills and support innovation in priority areas. The main beneficiaries are VET teachers, in-company trainers and other experts/professionals from the sectors involved in employment authority training programmes.

To improve the quality of the training offer, the national reference centres (CRNs) develop guidelines and reference guides for teaching and training staff on how best to teach and assess learning outcomes taught in professional certificate programmes.

More information is available in the Cedefop ReferNet thematic perspective on teachers and trainers ([56]http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/en/publications-and-resources/country-reports/teachers-and-trainers).

The 2015 reform of vocational training for employment ([57]Act 30/2015 regulating vocational training for employment.), put the employment ministry, through the observatory of the public State employment service (SEPE), in charge of research and detection of training needs. The observatory works in coordination and cooperation with the autonomous communities, (via the sectoral conference on employment and labour issues), and the social partners (via the general council for the national employment system).

Skills anticipation in Spain takes place at different levels and in different bodies, involving substantial stakeholder/social partner engagement. Labour market and skills analysis is primarily based on data from

  • labour force survey (LFS) statistics;
  • administrative data on employment;
  • registered unemployment data collected by employment authorities;
  • ad hoc surveys carried out by public or other institutions; these may take a sectoral or more general approach;
  • the alert network of the professional observatory of the National Qualifications Institute.

These sources are used to monitor the labour market and quantify past trends to provide insight on how employment is changing.

Education and employment authorities, at national and regional levels, have their own services for monitoring labour market trends and qualifications evolution. Regular graduate tracking measures are established at regional level, without a structural approach at national level.

A collaboration agreement on reciprocal data exchange on VET graduates was signed in 2017 between the ministries of education and social security to allow tracking and analysis of their employability. A new survey on learner transition from education and training to the labour market ([58]Encuesta de Transición Educativo-Formativa e Inserción Laboral (ETEFIL).) is being prepared. It focuses on the referral course 2013-14 targeting dropouts from lower secondary (ESO); lower and upper secondary (ESO and baccalaureate, respectively), intermediate VET and higher VET graduates ([59]Results from previous ETEFIL round can be found at
https://www.mecd.gob.es/servicios-al-ciudadano-mecd/estadisticas/educacion/mercado-laboral/transicion/encuesta-2005.html
).

Other State-wide institutions monitor skill needs and trends:

  • the National Institute of Qualifications ([60]Instituto Nacional de Cualificaciones (INCUAL).) has its own observatory ([61]http://incual.mecd.es/observatorio-objetivos-y-funciones). It monitors needs for new occupational standards in all 26 professional branches and updates the national catalogue, in cooperation with sectoral and territorial observatories;
  • the State public employment service ([62]SEPE) has an Observatory of Occupations ([63]https://www.sepe.es/HomeSepe/que-es-el-sepe/observatorio.html). It publishes reports on existing and future training needs, job offers’ profiles and labour market evolution and trends. It also publishes sectoral studies, using quantitative and qualitative techniques and constantly updated social and occupational indicators;
  • the national reference centres (CRNs) as centres of innovation and experimentation in productive sectors, address changes in the demand for qualification. They liaise with business and union organisations and universities, and establish benchmarks for common use within the network.

The 2015 reform of vocational training for employment ([64]Act 30/2015 regulating vocational training for employment.) foresees the development of multi-annual skills anticipation every three years for planning the vocational training system initiatives, in line with the Spanish strategy for employment activation. It will involve the most representative business and trade union organisations, the regions, sectoral joint structures and other organisations (for self-employed workers and entities of the social economy). Other ministerial departments, observatories and experts may also collaborate ([65]For further information, please check Skills Panorama (2017). Skills anticipation in Spain. Analytical highlights series.
https://skillspanorama.cedefop.europa.eu/en/analytical_highlights/skills-anticipation-spain
).

See also Cedefop’s skills forecast ([66]http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/en/publications-and-resources/data-visualisations/skills-forecast) and European skills index ([67]https://skillspanorama.cedefop.europa.eu/en/indicators/european-skills-index)

See also national forecast and identification of training needs reports produced by the State public employment service (SEPE) ([68]http://www.sepe.es/HomeSepe/que-es-el-sepe/observatorio/necesidades-formativas.html).

Stakeholders are involved in designing and updating VET qualifications in line with labour market needs. They develop occupational standards in all sectors of the economy; these make up the national register (CNCP) ([69]Catálogo Nacional de Cualificaciones Profesionales (CNCP).) and are used as reference for designing and updating VET programmes and qualifications ([70]Cedefop (2019). Spotlight on VET – 2018 compilation: vocational education and training systems in Europe. Luxembourg: Publications Office.
https://www.cedefop.europa.eu/en/publications-and-resources/publications/4168
).

Occupational standards

The backbone of VET is the national catalogue of occupational standards (CNCP) ([71]Catálogo Nacional de Cualificaciones Profesionales.), which comprises the most important occupations organised in 26 sector branches. It currently has 668 occupational standards on three levels, according to the degree of complexity, autonomy and responsibility necessary to carry out a work activity ([72]http://incual.mecd.es/bdc).

Occupational standards ([73]Cualificación Profesional, in the national context.), consist of a set of competence units (UCs) reflecting the expected performance of a job holder in the respective occupation. A competence unit is defined as ‘the minimum set of professional skills that can be partially recognised and certified’. Each competence unit is associated to a learning module, which describes the necessary learning (knowledge, skills and competences) required to achieve that unit. The learning specifications are expressed as capacities (learning outcomes) and their related assessment criteria, as well as the contents leading to the achievement of those capacities. The capacities to be completed in a real working environment are also identified.

 

Structure of occupational standards

Source: INCUAL.

 

Occupational standards are used by the education and employment authorities to design VET qualifications: VET diplomas and professional certificates (CdP).

  • VET diplomas are composed of a set of these occupational standards ([74]This set consists of several occupational standards, encompassing all or some of their UCs.);
  • a single occupational standard is used for each professional certificate ([75]In some exceptional cases, an occupational standard has given rise to two CdP programmes.).

As stated in Act 5/2002, the Government establishes the equivalences and recognition between VET diplomas (issued by education authorities) and professional certificates (issued by employment authorities) through competence units.

The national institute of qualifications ([76]Instituto Nacional de las Cualificaciones (INCUAL).) is responsible for defining, drawing up and updating the national catalogue of occupational standards (CNCP) and the corresponding competence units and learning modules, in active cooperation with VET stakeholders ([77]Organisations in the General council for vocational training.). Regions have an active role in the development of some professional branches according to their productive context; this is the case for Galicia in the maritime and fishing industry (MAP) or for País Vasco in metalworking (FME).

Experts from the 26 professional branches, covering both the productive and training sectors, work together to define the occupational units of competence and the standards of the reference profiles in the production system. A competence unit is then described in terms of the professional tasks that skilled workers do.

Updating and reviewing all vocational qualifications is continuous and starts with standards older than 5 years or when the changes in the production sectors make it advisable to update before five years. This process involves all parties, including experts from companies and VET institutions, as well as an external validation of the revised occupational standards, based on current labour market needs analysis in terms of skills supply and demand in all sectors and professional branches. INCUAL collects information through various channels using qualitative and quantitative approaches and VET qualifications are updated accordingly. New occupational standards are created based on identified emerging professional profiles.

National reference centres (CRN) are in charge of planning and carrying out activities for innovation, experimentation and training, which serve as a point of reference for the whole national system of qualifications and vocational training for the development of VET.

Recently, INCUAL has improved its observatory and created an early warning system network, with different stakeholders, to identify prospective trends and changes in professional profile requirements and to draw up and, if necessary, modify the occupational standards.

VET diplomas (education authority VET)

These are based on the occupational standards included in the CNCP. They are offered at basic, intermediate and higher levels, have an academic and professional value and signify both an education level and the professional qualification obtained. They are accessible to learners enrolled to basic, intermediate and higher VET programmes.

A working group of educational and technological experts, drawn from the related productive sector and different regions, work together to design and draw up each diploma programme. Educational experts are usually teachers or trainers in the same professional field. Several consultation rounds take place before a VET qualification is approved by the Government and all interested groups and institutions can express their considerations ([78]See the webpage on new diplomas (drafts) on the official website of the Ministry of Education.
TodoFP.es: nuevos títulos (LOE); borradores:
http://www.todofp.es/todofp/que-como-y-donde-estudiar/que-estudiar/nuevos-titulos/borradores.html
). All main advisory bodies are involved in the process:

  • the sectoral education conference;
  • the general council for vocational training (CGFP),
  • the national education council;
  • when other authorities have responsibilities in the occupation or professional fields to which the curriculum of the diploma programmes refers, their favourable report is a prerequisite for approval and publication in the official gazette (BOE).

VET diploma programmes, defined according to learning outcomes, are approved by royal decrees for 55-65% of national curricula, ensuring the validity and the consistency of the qualifications nationally. Between 45 and 35% of the curricula contents are settled at regional level, according to the socioeconomic characteristics of the immediate environment. These royal decrees also establish the facilities, equipment requirements for VET providers, assessment criteria and teacher requirements for each VET diploma programme.

VET diploma programmes consist of different modules: some are linked to occupational standards (the occupations covered by the diploma) while others ease access to employment such as business and entrepreneurship (Empresa e iniciativa emprendedora) or professional training and guidance modules (Formación y orientacion laboral, FOL). Personal and social skills are also covered transversely in all modules making up the curriculum of VET in the education system.

Starting in 2015, VET diploma programmes are being updated and adapted to the requirements of the productive sectors ([79]In 2018, five new diplomas were approved: Access and conservation in sports facilities (basic VET); Assembly of structures and installation of aeronautical systems; Recreation boat maintenance technician; Maintenance of wooden structures and furniture of pleasure boats and Food marketing (the last four at intermediate VET level).), including and reinforcing the eight key competences in a cross curricular way. Currently, there are 170 different Diplomas ([80]For further info on VET diplomas, see the Ministry of Education’s website on guidance and VET:
TodoFP.es - Qué, Cómo y Dónde estudiar:
http://www.todofp.es/que-como-y-donde-estudiar.html
):

  • 34 in basic VET (Título profesional básico) (ISCED 353)
  • 62 in intermediate VET (Título de Técnico) (ISCED 354)
  • 92 in higher VET (Título de Técnico Superior) (ISCED 554)

Professional Certificates (employment authority VET) ([81]Certificados de Profesionalidad (CdPs).)

Professional Certificates (CdPs) are State-recognised vocational qualifications issued by the employment authorities. They are based on occupational standards and are developed and updated by the State public employment service (SEPE), with the cooperation of the national reference centres. SEPE also produces teaching and assessment guides ([82]https://www.sepe.es/HomeSepe/Personas/formacion/certificados-profesionalidad/guias-aprendizaje.html).

A common curriculum is set for each, regardless of the region and irrespective of the type of training programme (full-time, e-learning), based on the standards set in the national catalogue of occupational standards (CNCP). Whenever an occupational standard or competence unit changes or is updated, the relevant CdP is also reviewed and changed accordingly.

Professional certificate programmes are organised in three levels, level 1 being the most basic and level 3 the most complex. They have a modular structure with learning outcomes, assessment criteria and contents and guidelines for providers which are fully employment-oriented. Each professional certificate also includes a compulsory on-the-job training module (módulo de formación práctica en centros de trabajo) whose learning outcomes must be assessed in the workplace. The total duration of the professional certificate programmes ([83]In July 2014 the national repertoire of professional certificates (Repertorio Nacional de Certificados de Profesionalidad - RNCP) was finalised with 583 different programmes referred to the different CNCP´s qualifications in the national catalogue of occupational standards (Catálogo Nacional de Cualificaciones Profesionales - CNCP).) varies, according to the structure of competences and learning outcomes to be acquired without reference to a specific academic year. The duration of the on-the-job training module depends on the profile and occupations included in the curriculum of each diploma, ranging from 5% to 52% of the total workload of the training programme.

 

Features of the 583 CdP learning programmes listed in the national catalogue of occupational standards (CNCP)

Source: ReferNet, based on results from SEPE’s search tool of training specialities [accessed 24.10.2018].

 

To adapt training programmes to the target audience, employed or unemployed workers, the workload of the training modules (Módulos formativos) associated with competence units (UCs) lasting 90 hours or more is split into shorter training units (unidad formativa, UF), with a minimum of 30 hours, based on an analysis of the competences with which they are associated.

Before their publication in the official gazette, all professional certificates undergo consultation with education and employment bodies: the general council for vocational training (CGFP), the training for employment State commission and the sectoral conference on labour affairs.

Professional certificates have a double effect: they set out training programmes and award a vocational qualification. As the competence unit is the minimum unit to be certified, it is possible to gain partial credits for a professional certificate.

Professional certificate programmes can be delivered face-to-face or as blended learning. In the latter, the State public employment service uses experts’ opinions to set the duration of instruction to be provided in person according to the nature of the content or the need to use certain equipment or machinery. Learning which cannot take place via simulation must be completed in traditional learning settings, as must all final assessments.

Holding a professional certificate indicates the ability to work in a particular field, in line with the classification of occupations, and guarantees the necessary vocational training, although it does not regulate professional activities (this is done by the relevant body in that profession).

Education and labour authorities establish, by mutual agreement and previous consent of the General Council for Vocational Education and Training, the basic quality indicators and requirements for education and training based on the national catalogue of occupational standards (CNCP).

The education system subscribes to a process of quality assurance ([84]http://incual.mecd.es/calidad-y-evaluacion-del-sistema) covering all aspects of education activities. Two differentiated means are used in support:

  • inspection of the education system (including VET) organised between the State and regional education authorities;
  • evaluation of the education system, including assessment of school performance and teaching staff performance.

Quality assurance in education authority VET is threefold:

  • state-level;
  • regional level, by the autonomous communities;
  • local level, by education institutions.

Since 2000, the evaluation institute of the education (INEE) ([85]Instituto Nacional de Evaluación Educativa (INEE):
http://www.mecd.gob.es/inee
), in collaboration with the regions, uses statistical indicators to run annual assessments; the results drawn are used for policy decision making. The process is in line with the European quality assurance reference framework (EQAVET).

At the end of each year schools evaluate results obtained to see if they are satisfactory and if the training offered is aligned with local socio-economic needs.

An integrated information system is in place in vocational training for employment. It collects complete and up-to-date information on the training activities funded by public calls throughout the State and is used for assessing the effectiveness of vocational training for employment.

The 2015 reform (Act 30/2015) provides quality assurance mechanisms, coordinated by the State public employment service (SEPE). These are:

  • evaluation of training actions and schemes, run by the State public employment service (SEPE) together with regional bodies and social partners through:
    • ex-ante evaluation aiming to identify training needs and objectives;
    • ex-post evaluation, through use of indicators to monitor efficiency, results and areas for improvement;

Funds are allocated to sectoral joint committees to develop annual plans and recommendations;

  • evaluation of public calls to fund training actions:
    • periodic ex-post evaluation of training initiatives by independent external bodies;
    • evaluation of subsidised training impact for beneficiaries (usually, the unemployed and employees);
  • quality evaluation of training activities for employment, which includes a satisfaction survey of beneficiaries ([86]https://www.fundae.es/Observatorio/Pages/Instrumentos.aspx). Training providers support assessment processes for the training they provide.

A 2018 study ([87]https://www.fundae.es/Observatorio/Pages/informes-de-Evaluaci%C3%B3n.aspx
https://blog.fundae.es/?s=formadores
) analyses the elements that impact on the quality of trainers and tutors in training actions not linked to State-recognised qualifications (professional certificates, CdPs) financed by the 2013-14 public call.

Accredited VET centres delivering CdP programmes have to submit a training project including the didactic planning and assessment of each training module making up the certificate. Training providers are monitored by the public employment services to verify conformity with the requirement of the order establishing a professional certificate programme; whether face-to-face, e-learning or part of dual training. This may include visits to training providers to gather physical evidence and testimonies about their implementation.

The process for validation of prior learning (VPL) is regulated by the Royal decree 1224/2009 ([88]Ministry of the Presidency (2009). Real Decreto 1224/2009, de 17 de julio, de reconocimiento de las competencias profesionales adquiridas por experiencia laboral [Royal Decree 1224/2009, of July 17, on recognition of professional skills acquired through work experience]. Boletín Oficial del Estado, No 205, 25.8.2009, pp. 72704-72727.
https://www.boe.es/boe/dias/2009/08/25/pdfs/BOE-A-2009-13781.pdf
). The aim is to support skills creation to (re)enter the labour market, especially for early leavers and adults with no or low qualifications. The framework covers the whole spectrum of professional skills included in the national catalogue of occupational standards (CNCP).

There are also opportunities for adults to sit entrance examinations to gain access to studies which lead to an official qualification, such as those for intermediate and higher vocational training programmes.

The National Institute of Qualifications ([89]Instituto Nacional de Cualificaciones (INCUAL):
http://incual.mecd.es/acreditacion
) ensures the maintenance and update of the national catalogue of occupational standards (CNCP), which are used by the education or employment authorities to establish vocational qualifications (VET diplomas and professional certificates-CdPs). The National Institute of Qualifications uses a set of quality criteria to guarantee the reliability, objectivity and technical rigor of the validation process. Validation of prior learning allows workers to have their skills recognised either to find a job, move between workplaces or advance in their careers.

Regional authorities (autonomous communities) implement the validation process through public calls published (jointly or not) by education and labour authorities at regional level. Regions also provide information on the number of places (beneficiaries) available and are responsible for guidance services and quality assurance of the validation process ([90]Validation inventory 2016, available at
http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/files/2016_validate_es.pdf
). These procedures empower citizens to engage in further learning and acquire full qualifications. Demand for recognition may be driven by company needs, social partner requests or minimum qualification requirements from sectoral regulatory bodies, depending on local or sectoral labour market needs.

The calls lay down which competence units ([91]A UC is defined as ‘the minimum set of professional skills that can be partially recognised and certified’. The VET system is modular, occupational standards may include several competences units (education authority VET diplomas may include one or more occupational standards, while professional certificates are usually composed of one occupational standards).) are to be validated, vocational qualifications and sector branches involved; they may also limit the maximum number of people to be assessed in each competence unit. Competence units to be validated are individually assessed and certified and may be accumulated towards a full qualification in IVET and CVET.

 

Share of validation beneficiaries in 2017

Source: Data provided by INCUAL, 2018.

 

To acknowledge work experience, applicants must be able to prove at least three years of experience relevant to the skills being assessed, with a minimum of 2 000 working hours in the ten years previous to the call. In the case of non-formal training ([92]Non-formal learning in VET is essentially any training programme which does not directly lead to official qualifications.), applicants must prove they have received at least three hundred hours of training not leading to official recognition in the ten years before the call.

The process is divided into the following three phases:

  • mandatory advisory phase (either in person or online) to help candidates assess their own skills, fill out their personal and training record and present the evidence backing up their application. The guidance counsellor uses this documentation to report whether the applicant may enter the next phase. If the report is negative, the counsellor advises the candidate to undertake supplementary training and proposes available training courses;
  • assessment: this aims to prove whether the applicants can demonstrate their skills in real or simulated work situations;
  • certification: candidates receive certification for each of the competence units they have successfully passed. The set of certified UCs may correspond to a complete or partial CdP certificate, or a partial lVET Diploma.

Between 2010 and 2017, these public calls offered a total of 277 079 assessment places across 24 sector branches ([93]No public calls have been published for the sector branches of Textile, clothing industry and leather and of Glass and ceramics. The number of assessment places called varies from one year to another according to the different industry requirements in each region. Most of these places were in the Sociocultural and community services professional branch since workers in social care services need to be qualified to assist people with social care needs, at home or in social institutions. The number of places in the Security and environment branch is also growing - especially in the field of management and handling of harmful organisms and pest control, related to the European biocide regulation - and in Health for sanitary transport and first aid care to multiple victims. Physical and sports activities branch stood out in 2017, mainly to accredit lifeguards in aquatic facilities or natural spaces.).

A national procedure for the validation of skills acquired in volunteering activities ([94]http://www.injuve.es/empleo/noticia/aprobado-el-nuevo-sistema-de-reconocimiento-de-la-educacion-no-formal) with young people is also currently being developed. It will be a free and telematic (online) service.

There are other possibilities for recognition of prior learning by means of different exams targeting adults that wish to obtain the basic education (ESO) or general upper secondary (Bachillerato) certificates or IVET qualifications (at all three levels, basic, intermediate and higher VET diplomas) without having to complete the corresponding studies. These exams are periodically organised by the education authorities.

For more information about arrangements for the validation of non-formal and informal learning please visit Cedefop’s European database ([95]http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/en/publications-and-resources/data-visualisations/european-database-on-validation-of-non-formal-and-informal-learning).

Scholarships and grants for IVET learners

There are three types of financial incentive to begin or pursue a programme of studies which are valid throughout the country:

  • financial support based on the applicant’s socio-economic circumstances;
  • grants based on the applicant’s socio-economic circumstances and academic achievement;
  • awards aimed at students with high academic achievement.

Eligibility requirements, as well as household income and capital thresholds, are updated annually.

IVET learners can apply for scholarships and grants, distributed through annual calls published by the education ministry and the regions. During the economic downturn, amendments were made to the scholarship regime and study grants for students in non-university post compulsory education, imposing the shared responsibility of recipients to obtain satisfactory results. The distribution of public expenditure among the various educational activities, scholarships and study grants reached 4.2% in 2016. In 2018, the budget allocated to scholarships and grants is the highest in recent years. The trend is to increase the number of grant holders but reduce the average amount received per beneficiary.

International internships

VET mobility projects aim to increase the employability of young graduates in VET, as well as language proficiency, soft skills and professional competences. Under the Erasmus + 2015 programme, extended until 2017, there were 310 VET mobility projects, mainly apprentice mobility (EUR 20 million investment) and staff mobility (EUR one million). 86% of participants were learners, 14% were teachers and other staff.

Information and guidance tools

The education authority promotes VET through its dedicated web portal ([96]www.Todofp.es), visited by four million users per year. The portal was updated in 2017. It includes VET programmes, Europass supplements ([97]http://www.todofp.es/orientacion-profesional/itinerarios-formativos-profesionales/movilidad/que-es-el-suplemento-europass/titulos-loe.html. Europass supplements for CdPs at
https://www.sepe.es/HomeSepe/Personas/formacion/certificados-profesionalidad/suplementoseuropass.html
), labour market information, and information on VET competitions such as SpainSkills, EuropeSkills and WorldSkills. It also has a dedicated section (Acredita) on validation of informal and non-formal learning ([98]http://www.todofp.es/orientacion-profesional/itinerarios-formativos-profesionales/movilidad/que-es-el-suplemento-europass/titulos-loe.html
http://www.todofp.es/sobre-fp/competiciones-de-fp.html
http://www.todofp.es/acreditacion-de-competencias.html
).

Regional education authorities also have web sections directly linked to/from the portal and implement measures to boost VET enrolment in their territories.

News tools in place include an app for mobile phones to find documents in the portal’s library; an online guidance tool, Choose your own pathway ([99]Decide tu itinerario:
http://www.todofp.es/decide/
) and an on-site customer service point with a variety of communication channels (email, instant messaging, social media networks like Twitter and Facebook, and telephone enquiries).

Incentives for the employed

The 2012 labour reform and the 2015 employment authority VET reform (Act 30/2015) laid down different incentives for workers such as the training account, linked to workers' social security number, and the ‘training voucher’ for workers to choose their training and provider; neither of these incentives has yet been implemented.

Workers have the right to 20 hours of annual training related to the company's activity; these hours can be accumulated over a period of five years. Nevertheless, this right, in place since 2012, has not yet been fully developed through other legal provisions.

Individual training leave for the employed (PIF) ([100]Permiso Individuales de Formación.)

Employees can take part in training programmes run by their companies or participate in other training schemes. They can apply for individual training leave (PIF) from their companies, to improve their skills at no cost to the company. Employees have the right to 200 working hours for educational purposes, with the company agreement. The company is reimbursed for the salary of that worker by the State Foundation for Training in Employment (Fundae) and the worker receives his/her salary during the training leave. Individual training leave is intended to provide workers wishing to improve their personal and professional skills with the opportunity to attend officially recognised or formal training courses. Workers can also take this type of leave to undergo the procedure for recognition of prior learning acquired through work experience or non-formal education.

In 2017, only a minority of individual training leave (4.5%) was used to carry out training to obtain a professional certificate (CdP). Individual training leave was mostly used to attend formal education (76.8%) or other training courses (18.7%) leading to other qualifications ([101]Mainly professional driving licences and other types of certificate of professional competence (such as the Certificado de aptitud professional - CAP, necessary to perform certain jobs: electrical and gas technicians).). More than 40% of individual training leave beneficiaries are between 36 and 45 years old; women beneficiaries account for 42.0% (a two percentage point increase since 2016).

 

Allocation of funds according to training initiatives for employees – 2018

(*) Ceuta and Melilla’s budget have been included in in the regional calls for proposals although managed by the State Foundation for Training in Employment (Fundae).
Source: Fundae (2019). 2018 Key findings. https://www.fundae.es/Observatorio/Pages/Balance-de-resultados.aspx

 

Incentives for the unemployed

Unemployed workers may also take part in some of the different training schemes within the training for employment system. Participants can request, if necessary, reimbursement for travel, accommodation and meal expenses during the training period. In some cases, they can also apply for financial aid for other issues, particularly if they have family responsibilities.

Incentives for dual VET learners and apprentices

The introduction of a dual system in education authority VET offers young people at risk an insight into the labour market. Based on first preliminary data - available from training centres or regional authorities – the employment rate of dual VET learners is usually higher than in traditional school based VET.

Training and apprenticeship contracts are offered in IVET and CVET. They target mostly unemployed people who lack formal qualifications and have seen positive results since the 2012 labour reform. Hired apprentices benefit from a 100% reduction in social security contributions, total social protection, unemployment benefit and training (training for at least 25% of working hours in the first year and 15% in the second and third year). The training may lead to a full qualification (professional certificate) or partial certification of a set of competence units towards a professional certificate or a VET diploma.

Supporting VET provider capacity

Education authority VET programmes are offered by both State-funded centres and private centres. One in four learners attends a private centre. To ensure equity and equality of opportunities, private education centres may receive funds to offer teaching free of charge (these are called publicly-funded private centres). Increased funding ([102]On average, EUR 64 000 per group.) supports creation of more free VET places in these centres.

Increased funding was also allocated to the regions for implementing VET policies in their territories ([103]Dual VET (EUR 1.2 million), basic VET (EUR 208.9 million) and other VET programmes (EUR 1.3 million); additional funding in 2017 for basic VET (EUR 149 million) and other training programmes (EUR 1.3 million).).

Since the 2013 education reform (LOMCE Act) education centres have greater autonomy in using the funds allocated from the State budget to improve their training offer. They may run actions to test how to tailor their training offer to local needs/skills (pilot projects, new work plans or forms of organisation, and increase hours devoted to certain subjects) ([104]Results are assessed by the centres themselves, the inspection services, the regional education authorities and by the National Institute of educational evaluation (INEE) and must be publicly available.).

Vocational training providers under the employment authority can apply, on a competitive basis, for funding (with financial incentives or subsidies depending on the type of initiative) to carry out training actions in the regional or State calls for proposal published annually. Since Act 30/2015, only recognised training providers ([105]Before this reform, social partners were the only ones entitled to apply for these calls, whereas following Act 30/2015 a system of competitive competition between training centres has been put in place, excluding social partners as such. More information at
http://prensa.empleo.gob.es/WebPrensa/downloadFile.do?tipo=documento&id=2.464&idContenido=1.732
) can apply for such financial aid. Training is funded based on cost per participant/hour, which differs by delivery mode (e-learning or face—to-face).

National reference centres, running innovative and experimental training activities, schedule training courses which, due to the lack of equipment and facility requirements, are not offered by the usual network of vocational training centres.

Financial incentives

Within the training for employment system, companies receive discounts on their social security contributions for providing training to their employees. The yearly training credit (the amount for which they can receive a discount) available to each company is calculated by applying a fixed percentage to the training quota amount in the previous year. Companies with fewer than six employees receive a minimum credit (420€). This percentage is ranging from 100% for businesses with six to nine employees to 50% for big companies (250 or more). Businesses with more than 10 employees are obliged to finance part of the training cost, which again varies depending on the size of the company: 10% for companies with 10-49 employees, up to 40% for large companies.

Training and apprenticeship contract regulations set different incentives for companies to hire trainees, in the form of reduced employer social security contributions, or additional bonuses to fund the costs of in-company tutors, as well as other incentives when apprentices become permanent staff.

Education and vocational guidance are highlighted for improvement in the national VET system. In recent years, different reforms ([106]Head of State (2011). Ley 2/2011, de 4 de marzo, de Economía Sostenible [Act 2/2011 of 4 March, on Sustainable Economy]. Boletín Oficial del Estado, 5.3.2011, pp. 25033- 25235.
http://www.boe.es/boe/dias/2011/03/05/pdfs/BOE-A-2011-4117.pdf
) - complementing dispositions from Act 5/2002 on qualifications and vocational training - aimed to improve counselling and career guidance services, mainly through:

  • the development of an integrated information and guidance system;
  • the setting of a State-wide network to ensure access to information and career guidance for all citizens, including specialised services for businesses and the self-employed;
  • development of an integrated computing platform on professional guidance linked, where appropriate, to the relevant European networks;
  • coordination and monitoring of guidance services in line with national policies on education, employment and social inclusion.

Since then, various developments have taken place.

The education reform (Act 8/2013, LOMCE), generally maintains education and vocational guidance on the same terms as in the 2006 education Act (LOE). However, it includes new aspects related to compulsory secondary education:

  • an ’orientation and guidance’ report is delivered to the student’s parents at the end of general or vocational lower secondary programmes,
  • a report on the degree of achievement of learning outcomes and acquisition of relevant skills, as well as a proposal for a career path;
  • special focus on guidance in the new basic VET programmes.

Education legislation assigns the immediate responsibility for guidance to teachers, as part of students’ general education and training. State education centres offer professional guidance services for students and parents.

To support and widen guidance and counselling services in schools, regional education authorities are launching strategies and varied resources tailored to the specific needs arising from their own labour market ([107]Example from Murcia Region: http://www.llegarasalto.com/formacionpasional/).

The education ministry has been developing and broadening a series of actions, such as a new State-wide organisation of information and career guidance services; creation and maintenance of digital platforms for information and vocational guidance, and other projects linked to the dissemination of vocational training and guidance ([108]MECD. TodoFP.es: acreditación de competencias (the webpage on skills validation on the Ministry of Education’s website on VET):
http://www.todofp.es/acreditacion-de-competencias.html MECD. Formación profesional a través de Internet (vocational training through Internet):
http://www.mecd.gob.es/fponline.html
).

The Service for Internationalisation of Education (SEPIE), as the Spanish Erasmus+ national agency for education and training, also supports information services to promote learning opportunities abroad.

In the employment sphere the common employment services portfolio ([109]MEYSS, 2015. Real Decreto 7/2015, de 16 de enero, por el que se aprueba la Cartera Común de Servicios del Sistema Nacional de Empleo [Royal Decree 7/2015 of 16 January, by which the Common Employment Services Portfolio of the National Employment System is approved]. Boletín Oficial del Estado, No 31, 5.2.2015, pp. 9422-9435.
http://www.boe.es/boe/dias/2015/02/05/pdfs/BOE-A-2015-1056.pdf
) offers career guidance services to advise unemployed and employed workers on training and employment opportunities, as well as on the recognition and validation of their skills ([110]Labour authorities also have a web portal on validation of the skills acquired through work experience (
RECEX). SEPE Reconocimiento de las competencias profesionales adquiridas
https://sede.sepe.gob.es/portalSedeEstaticos/flows/gestorContenidos?page=recexIndex
). A further step in its implementation has been the publication of protocols and quality criteria for the provision of guidance services which all public employment services in Spain must comply with ([111]Reference guides for the development of such protocols were published in 2018: MEYSS (2018). Seguimiento de indicadores de empleo de la Estrategia Europa 2020. Junio 2018 [Monitoring of employment indicators of the Europe 2020 strategy. June 2018]. Observatorio; 6.2018.
http://www.mitramiss.gob.es/es/sec_trabajo/analisis-mercado-trabajo/pnr/observatorio/numeros/2018/junio/observatorio.pdf
). These protocols aim to define and set up individual professional paths to improve workers’ employability. They also aim to develop entrepreneurship and to support business and self-employment initiatives, by identifying workers’ skills, training and experience, interests, family situation and possible professional opportunities, as well as other relevant variables. This information will be used to prepare the workers’ profiles and their classification based on their employability.

All IVET programmes contain at least one or several vocational modules related to guidance, labour relations and the development of entrepreneurial culture, although these issues are also treated in a cross-curricular manner.

All VET students and trainees have to undertake an on-the-job training module that is carried out in a real productive setting. This module enables them to gain work experience and put their skills into practice, as well as learn about the organisation of productive processes or services and labour relations, guided by education and workplace tutors.

Please see:

Vocational education and training system chart

Tertiary

Click on a programme type to see more info
Programme Types

Higher VET

programmes

WBL up to 65%,

2 years

ISCED 554

Higher VET programmes (FP de grado superior - título de Técnico Superior), ISCED 554
EQF level
The Spanish education system is not referenced to EQF levels.
ISCED-P 2011 level

554

Usual entry grade

13

Usual completion grade

15

Usual entry age

18

Usual completion age

20

Length of a programme (years)

2

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

Y

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

Is it available for adults?

Not applicable (learners are over 18)

ECVET or other credits

VET programmes are based on learning outcomes with a strong focus on work-based learning. Higher level VET programmes under Act 2/2006 (LOE) have 120 ECTS credits.

Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)
  • school based learning (face to face), including work-based learning at workshops, labs, simulations, etc /full-time or on a part time modular basis;
  • distance learning ([142]And, in exceptional cases, workers over 16 unable to attend a regular school regime or elite athletes.);
  • dual VET (with or without training and apprenticeship contract);
  • work placement module (formación en centros de trabajo – FCT) – compulsory training module of 400 hours.

Higher VET programmes run in a 2-year programme of 2 000 hours of theoretical and practical training, of which a minimum of 400 hours are completed in workplaces ([143]All VET studies include a compulsory work placement module (formación en centros de trabajo - FCT) that takes place in a company (students with previous work experience may be exempt).).

In 2016/17, 12% of all learners enrolled in higher VET followed distance learning courses, over 3% were in the dual modality and more than half of all learners at this stage were 22 or older.

Main providers

Main education authority VET providers include:

  • public, publicly-funded private and private institutions approved by the competent educational authority;
  • integrated training centres which are public and provide both initial vocational training within the education system, and vocational training for employment;
  • national reference centres, which are public institutions specialised in the different professional branches, in charge of carrying out innovation and experimentation initiatives in the area of vocational training.

Public, publicly-funded private and private centres are the main providers of education authority VET programmes; only one in four learners attends private centres.

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

Up to 65%

Work-based learning type (workshops at schools, in-company training / apprenticeships)
  • practical training at school (workshops, labs, simulations, etc.);
  • work placement module (formación en centros de trabajo – FCT) – compulsory training module of 400 hours at a workplace (students with previous work experience may be exempt);
  • dual VET (apprenticeships):

(i) training and apprenticeship contracts ([144]https://www.sepe.es/HomeSepe/que-es-el-sepe/comunicacion/publicaciones/publicaciones-oficiales/listado-pub-empleo/formacion-profesional-dual-contrato-para-la-formacion-y-el-aprendizaje.html);

(ii) dual VET projects offered within the education system and implemented by the regions ( (based on learning agreements between the VET provider, the learner and the company).

Main target groups
  • learners over 18

There is a large share of students older than the theoretical school age: in the school year 2016/17: over 50% were 22 or older ([145]MEyFP (2019). Las cifras de la educación en España. Curso 2016-2017 (Edición 2019) [Key figures of education in Spain: academic year 2016/17 (2019 edition)].).

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

Higher VET are accessible to:

  • holders of the Bachillerato ([146]The end of upper secondary education diploma, allowing access to tertiary level academic or vocational studies.) diploma;
  • graduates from Intermediate VET (ISCED 354) programmes;
  • learners over 18, through validation of prior learning (formal/informal/non-formal).
Assessment of learning outcomes

Higher level VET programmes run in a 2-year programme of 2 000 hours, (equivalent to two full-time academic years, up to three when taken as a dual programme), of theoretical and practical training, of which a minimum of 400 hours are completed in workplaces. These programmes are made up of different vocational modules, which are expressed in terms of contents, evaluation criteria and learning outcomes, considering professional, personal, social and lifelong learning skills. They comprise:

  • vocational modules specific to each programme which must include the competence units and the social and personal skills aimed to be achieved;
  • a work placement module. Those who get recognition of their professional competence acquired through work experience or non-formal training may be totally or partially exempt from the work placement module;
  • one or more modules on vocational training and guidance and business and entrepreneurial initiative.
  • a project.

Assessment has a continuous, formative nature and is carried out by modules. Progression to the following year depends on the result of the assessment. Marks are expressed in numbers from one to 10, being five or over considered as a pass.

The work placement vocational module is expressed in terms of Passed/Failed. Those who get recognition of their professional competence acquired through work experience or non-formal training may be totally or partially exempt from the work placement module.

As a result of the assessment process, the relevant decisions on students’ progression are taken collegially by the teaching team at the end of each year.

Completion of a VET programme requires a pass grade in all the modules, and students may take the same programme up to a maximum of 4 years.

Diplomas/certificates provided

Higher VET programmes lead to a VET diploma (título de Técnico Superior) at ISCED level 554 allowing access to academic studies at tertiary level (programmes offered at ISCED levels 665 and 766) bachelor programmes through an admission procedure.

Examples of qualifications

Travel agencies and event organisation / sector: hospitality and tourism industry (Agencias de Viajes y Gestion de Eventos / Familia Profesional: hostelería y turismo) ([147]The list of VET diplomas offered in IVET is available (in Spanish) from the Ministry of Education official website on guidance and VET, MECD.
TodoFP.es: Qué, Cómo y Dónde estudiar.
http://www.todofp.es/que-como-y-donde-estudiar.html. Europass supplements for higher VET Diplomas are available at
http://www.todofp.es/orientacion-profesional/itinerarios-formativos-profesionales/movilidad/que-es-el-suplemento-europass/titulos-loe/grado-superior-en-ingl-s.html
)

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Holders of an higher VET diploma may

  • enter the labour market;
  • access academic programmes offered at ISCED level 665 (Bachelor programmes 3-4 years).
Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Y

VET diplomas, established by decrees, are composed of a set of occupational standards ([148]668 standards in 26 sector branches are listed in the national catalogue of occupational standards (Catálogo Nacional de Cualificaciones Profesionales - CNCP).
https://incual.mecd.es/documents/35348/0/folleto_incual_2015_ingles.pdf/3763b486-bc7e-4c3c-8382-a3842e4a6e19
); each of which includes a set of competence units (UCs). UC is the minimum set of professional skills that can be partially recognised and certified.

Competence units acquired either in the VET system or through validation of non-formal learning are individually assessed and certified and may be accumulated towards a full qualification in IVET and CVET.

General education subjects

N

Higher VET programmes are made up of vocational modules which vary in length, with theoretical and practical contents corresponding to the different professional fields, and also include lifelong learning skills.

  • vocational modules, specific to each professional field, linked to national catalogue of professional standards (CNCP);
  • a work placement vocational module, to be completed in a workplace;
  • vocational modules related to career guidance, business and entrepreneurial initiative;
  • a project module.
Key competences

Y

Key competences to be taken as a reference:

  • information processing and digital competence;
  • competence in linguistic communication;
  • competence in knowledge and interaction with the physical world;
  • social and civic competence.
Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

VET diploma programmes (established by Royal decrees) are based on learning outcomes with a strong focus on work-based learning, following ECVET guidelines.

National curricula account for 55-65%, the remaining 45-35% of the programme curricula are settled at regional level aligned to local socioeconomic characteristics.

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

49%

In 2017-18, the share of learners enrolled in higher VET programmes was 49% (393 531 learners) against 9% in basic VET and 42% in intermediate VET programmes.

 

Evolution of IVET students in the education system, 2008-18

(*) Advance data; the data do not include certain initial VET programmes (PCPI) that have been replaced in this period, as they did not lead to a VET degree, but include those for the new Basic VET.
Source: prepared by ReferNet Spain with data from Statistics from the education ministry.

 

Higher arts and design programmes,

2 years

Higher sports programmes,

1 year

ISCED 554

Higher sports or higher arts and design programmes (Grado Superior de Enseñanzas Deportivas o Grado Superior de Artes Plásticas y Diseño) ISCED 554 diploma
EQF level
The Spanish education system is not referenced to EQF levels.
ISCED-P 2011 level

554

Usual entry grade

13 (for arts and design programmes)

12 (for sports programmes)

Usual completion grade

15 (for arts and design programmes)

13 (for sports programmes)

Usual entry age

18 (for arts and design programmes)

18 (for sports programmes)

Usual completion age

20 (for arts and design programmes)

18 (for sports programmes)

Length of a programme (years)

2 (arts and design programmes)

1 (sports programmes)

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

Compulsory education in Spain includes

  • six years in primary school (learners aged 6 to 12)
  • four years in lower secondary education (ESO in Spanish) (learners aged 12 to 16)
Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

Information not available

Is it offered free of charge?

Information not available

Is it available for adults?

Not applicable (learners are already over 18)

ECVET or other credits

VET programmes are based on learning outcomes with a strong focus on work-based learning, following ECVET guidelines. ([138]https://ec.europa.eu/education/resources-and-tools/the-european-credit-system-for-vocational-education-and-training-ecvet_en)

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

Information not available

These programmes are offered in schools that are specialised according to the type and level of education in artistic or sports fields and can only be taken face to face.

Main providers

Main education authority VET providers include public, publicly-funded private and private institutions approved by the competent educational authority.

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

Information not available

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

These programmes are offered in schools that are specialised according to the type and level of education in artistic or sports fields

Main target groups
  • learners over 18 (for arts and design programmes);
  • learners over 18 (for sports programmes).
Entry requirements for learners (qualification/education level, age)

Arts and design ISCED 554 programmes

  • to gain access to the higher level VET in arts and design, it is necessary to hold the upper secondary qualification (baccalaureate) or equivalent, and pass a specific test to prove knowledge and skills necessary to take advantage of these programmes;
  • exemption from the test is possible in certain cases, such as: Higher level VET diploma of Plastic Arts and Design of a professional branch related to the programme to undertake or equivalent; Baccalaureate in Arts, Bachelor of Fine Arts, Architecture or Technical Engineering in Industrial Design, Higher Title of Conservation and Restoration of Cultural Property;
  • in absence of previous requirements, be 19 years old and passing an entry test or be 18 and hold an intermediate level VET diploma in arts and design;
  • the entry test has two parts: general part dealing with the knowledge and basic skills of the common subjects of the baccalaureate; and a specific part to assess the artistic knowledge and the necessary skills to take advantage of these programmes.

Sports programmes:

  • upper secondary education qualification (baccalaureate) or equivalent for academic purposes;
  • sports technician diploma in the corresponding modality or sports;
  • the baccalaureate diploma can be substituted by passing a test in which maturity is demonstrated in relation to the objectives of the baccalaureate. To take this test, learners have to be 19 years old or 18 years with a diploma in Intermediate level VET in physical and sports activities sector branch;
  • this test can be substituted by the common part of the test of access to higher level VET programmes;
  • in addition to the general requirements, each modality may require other conditions, such as accreditation of certain sporting merits or passing of a specific test of the modality or sport specialty.
Assessment of learning outcomes

Assessment is continuous and takes into account the progress and the academic maturity of the students, in relation to the general objectives and the professional competencies of the programme.

The evaluation is carried out by modules, taking as reference their objectives expressed in terms of skills and competences and their respective assessment criteria.

The results of the final evaluation of each module are expressed in terms of grades according to a numerical scale from zero to ten. Qualifications equal to or greater than five are considered positive and the rest will be negative.

The results of the evaluation of the practical training are expressed in terms of "apt / not apt".

Diplomas/certificates provided

Higher technician diploma plastic arts and design (título de Técnico Superior de Artes Plásticas y Diseño);

Higher technician diploma in the modality or sports specialty (Título de técnico deportivo superior en la modalidad o especialidad deportiva).

Examples of qualifications
Progression opportunities for learners after graduation
  • access to higher education;
  • babour market.
Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Arts and design or sports programmes, established by decrees, are composed of a set of occupational standards ([141]668 standards in 26 sector branches are listed in the national catalogue of occupational standards (Catálogo Nacional de Cualificaciones Profesionales - CNCP).
https://incual.mecd.es/documents/35348/0/folleto_incual_2015_ingles.pdf/3763b486-bc7e-4c3c-8382-a3842e4a6e19
); each of which includes a set of competence units (UCs). UC is the minimum set of professional skills that can be partially recognised and certified.

Competence units acquired either in the VET system or through validation of non-formal learning are individually assessed and certified and may be accumulated towards a full qualification in IVET and CVET.

General education subjects

N

Key competences

N

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

VET diploma programmes (established by Royal decrees) are based on learning outcomes with a strong focus on work-based learning, following ECVET guidelines.

National curricula account for 55-65%, the remaining 45-35% of the programme curricula are settled at regional level aligned to local socioeconomic characteristics.

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

<2%

In the school year 2016/17, 14 531 students followed higher arts & design or higher sports programmes, out of 818 506 students at education authority VET.

94.6% of them were in arts & design and the other 5.4% at sports programmes at this level.

Post-secondary

Programme Types
Not available

Secondary

Click on a programme type to see more info
Programme Types

Basic VET programmes

WBL up to 50%,

2 years

ISCED 353­

Basic VET programmes (FP Básica, Título profesional básico) ISCED 353
EQF level
The Spanish education system is not referenced to EQF levels.
ISCED-P 2011 level

353

Usual entry grade

10 ([114]Possible route only after guidance advice at age 15 (or older).)

Usual completion grade

12

Usual entry age

15 ([115]Possible route only after guidance advice at age 16 (or, exceptionally at age 15).)

Usual completion age

18

Length of a programme (years)

2

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

Compulsory education in Spain includes

  • six years in primary school (learners aged 6 to 12)
  • four years in lower secondary education (ESO in Spanish) (learners aged 12 to 16)

Basic VET programmes are an alternative option offered to learners ([116]To enter Basic VET learners must meet certain age and academic requirements. Requirements for Basic VET are: (a) to be between 15 and 17 years old by the end of the year they start these studies; (b) to have finished the first cycle of secondary compulsory education (that is, three years) or exceptionally, have finished the second course of secondary compulsory education; and (c) to be recommended by teaching staff and have parents (or self if he/she is emancipated) consent. Education authorities, apart from compulsory education, can also offer basic VET to people who are over 17 and do not have a VET or a secondary qualification.) who have not completed lower secondary to stay in education and training.

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

Y

Education authorities, apart from compulsory education, can also offer basic VET to people who are over 17 and do not have a VET or a secondary qualification.

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

Is it available for adults?

Y

Education authorities, apart from compulsory education, can also offer basic VET to people who are over 17 and do not have a VET or a secondary qualification.

ECVET or other credits

VET programmes are based on learning outcomes with a strong focus on work-based learning, following ECVET guidelines.

Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)
  • School based learning (face to face), including work-based learning at workshops, labs, simulations/full-time (young people);or on a part- time modular basis (adults)) ([117]And, in exceptional cases, workers over 16 unable to attend a regular school regime or elite athletes.);
  • work placement module (formación en centros de trabajo, FCT) compulsory training module of 240 hours;
  • dual VET (with or without an apprenticeship contract). Around 15.3% of basic VET learners were over 18 years old in the school year 2016/17, and fewer than 1% were enrolled in these programmes in the dual modality.

Enrolments in education authority VET, 2016-17

2016-17

Total VET

Dual VET

Basic Cycle

69 528

414

Intermediate Cycle

343 920

7 422

Advanced Cycle

377 937

12 521

Total

791 385

20 357

Source: Ministry of Education (2018)., https://www.educacionyfp.gob.es/dam/jcr:113353c4-7f3d-4005-88ac-e944ceb94200/nota-16-17.pdf

Main providers

Main education authority VET providers include:

  • public, publicly-funded private and private institutions approved by the competent education authority;
  • in some cases, integrated training centres which are public and provide both initial vocational training within the education system, and vocational training for employment.

Public, publicly-funded private and private centres are the main providers of education authority VET programmes; only one in four learners attends private centres.

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

Up to 50%

Work-based learning type (workshops at schools, in-company training / apprenticeships)
  • practical training at school (workshops, labs, simulations);
  • work placement module (formación en centros de trabajo, FCT), of 240 hours at a workplace;
  • dual VET (apprenticeships);
Main target groups
  • Learners over 15
  • Adults (under specific conditions)

Basic VET programmes were first developed to prevent early leaving from education and training. They allow people to complete compulsory education and gain a basic VET qualification (VET diploma, in the national context or Título profesional básico).

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

Requirements for basic VET are:

  • to be between 15 and 17 years old by the end of the year they start these studies;
  • to have finished the first cycle of secondary compulsory education (three years) or exceptionally, have finished the second course of secondary compulsory education;
  • to be recommended by teaching staff and have parents (or by self if he/she is emancipated) consent.

Education authorities, apart from compulsory education, can also offer basic VET to people who are over 17 and do not have a VET or a secondary qualification.

Assessment of learning outcomes

Basic VET programmes run in a two-year programme of 2 000 hours, (equivalent to two full-time academic years, up to three when taken as a dual programme), of theoretical and practical training, of which a minimum of 240 hours are completed in workplaces ([119]All VET studies include a compulsory work placement module (formación en centros de trabajo - FCT) that takes place in a company (students with previous work experience may be exempt).).

These programmes are made up of different vocational modules, which are expressed in terms of contents, evaluation criteria and learning outcomes, considering professional, personal, social and lifelong learning skills.

They comprise modules linked to competence units of the national catalogue of professional standards; and modules linked to the acquisition of lifelong learning skills such as communication and society and applied sciences modules, which include Spanish language, foreign language, social sciences, mathematics and science both applied to the personal and learning context in a professional field; there is also a specific module in a work place environment.

Assessment has a continuous, formative nature and is carried out in modules. Progression to the following year depends on the result of the assessment. Marks are expressed in numbers from one to 10, where five or over is a pass.

The work placement module is expressed in terms of passed/failed. Those who get recognition of their professional competence acquired through work experience or non-formal training may be totally or partially exempt from the work placement module.

As a result of the assessment process, the relevant decisions on student progression are taken collegially by the teaching team at the end of each year.

Completion of a VET programme requires a pass grade in all the modules, and students may take the same programme up to a maximum of four years.

Diplomas/certificates provided

Basic VET programmes lead to a basic VET diploma (Título profesional básico) that has academic and professional validity.

Students who finish basic VET will obtain the lower secondary education diploma (título ESO) directly if the teaching staff considers they have achieved the objectives and necessary skills of ESO level.

Examples of qualifications

Basic level applicator of phytosanitary pesticides ([120]The list of VET diplomas offered in IVET is available (in Spanish) from the Ministry of Education’s website on guidance and VET, MECD:
TodoFP.es: Qué, Cómo y Dónde estudia:
http://www.todofp.es/que-como-y-donde-estudiar.htm
) /sector: Agriculture (aplicador/a de nivel básico de plaguicidas de uso fitosanitario/ Familia Profesional: Agraria)

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Holders of a basic VET diploma may

  • enter the labour market, or
  • enrol directly to intermediate VET programmes (ISCED 354) or
  • obtain the ESO ([121]Educación Secundaria Obligatoria (ESO) is the end of lower secondary compulsory education diploma, necessary to access higher level studies.) diploma, if the teaching staff considers they have achieved the objectives and necessary skills of ESO level, opening up access to upper secondary general education programmes
Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Y

VET diplomas, established by decrees, are composed of a set of occupational standards ([122]668 standards in 26 sector branches are listed in the national catalogue of occupational standards (Catálogo Nacional de Cualificaciones Profesionales - CNCP).
https://incual.mecd.es/documents/35348/0/folleto_incual_2015_ingles.pdf/3763b486-bc7e-4c3c-8382-a3842e4a6e19
), each of which includes a set of competence units (UCs). UC is the minimum set of professional skills that can be partially recognised and certified.

Competence units acquired either in the VET system or through validation of non-formal learning are individually assessed and certified and may be accumulated towards a full qualification in IVET and CVET.

General education subjects

Y

Basic VET programmes are made up of vocational modules (which vary in length, with theoretical and practical contents corresponding to the different professional fields) and lifelong learning skills:

  • learning modules linked to competence units of the national catalogue of occupational standards (CNCP);
  • a work placement vocational module, to be completed in a workplace;
  • modules for the acquisition of lifelong learning skills (Spanish, other official and/or foreign language, social sciences, mathematics and sciences);
  • all basic VET programmes include cross-curricular skills like team work, occupational risk prevention, entrepreneurship, business activity and work orientation of students.
Key competences

Y

Since 2015, VET diploma programmes are being updated and adapted to the requirements of the productive sectors, including and reinforcing the eight key competences in a cross curricular way.

Basic VET programmes are made up of vocational modules which vary in length, with theoretical and practical contents corresponding to the different professional fields, and also include lifelong learning skills.

All Basic VET programmes ([123]Made up of vocational modules which vary in length, with theoretical and practical contents corresponding to the different professional fields, lifelong learning skills are also included.) include cross-curricular skills:

  • teamwork, health and safety at work; entrepreneurship, business and career counselling;
  • respect for the environment and promotion of physical activity and a healthy diet;
  • skills related to reading comprehension, oral and written expression, ICT and civic and constitutional education.
Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

VET diploma programmes (established by Royal decrees) are based on learning outcomes with a strong focus on work-based learning, following ECVET guidelines. National curricula account for 55-65%, the remaining 45-35% of the programme curricula are settled at regional level aligned to local socioeconomic characteristics.

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

<9% ([124]2017/18)

In 2017-18, the share of learners enrolled in basic VET programmes was 9% (72186 learners), against 42% enrolled in intermediate VET (339112 learners) and 49% (393531 learners) in higher VET programmes. Enrolment in basic VET increase by 3.8% compared to the previous year ([125]In the school year 2016/17, 69 528 students followed Basic VET programmes out of 818 506, compared with 42% at intermediate level and 46% at higher level VET.).

Basic VET programmes were first implemented in 2014. In 2015-16, half (55.1%) of those enrolled in basic VET were young people aged 15-17 (theoretical age for this type of programme) or young adults up to 25 (44.1%)

Share of students according to age by VET level programme, 2015-16

NB: Theoretical ages refer to the ages as established by law and regulation for the entry and ending of a cycle of education. Theoretical ages may differ significantly from the typical ages.
Source: Prepared by authors with data from education ministry. MECD (2018). Las cifras de la educación en España. Estadísticas e indicadores. Edición 2018 [The figures of education in Spain. Statistics and indicators. Statistics 2018]. Madrid: MECD. https://www.mecd.gob.es/servicios-al-ciudadano-mecd/estadisticas/educacion/indicadores-publicaciones-sintesis/cifras-educacion-espana/2015-16.html) .

Intermediate VET

programmes

WBL up to 65%,

2 years

ISCED 354

Intermediate VET programmes (FP de grado medio - Título de Técnico), ISCED 354
EQF level
The Spanish education system is not referenced to EQF levels.
ISCED-P 2011 level

354

Usual entry grade

11

Usual completion grade

13

Usual entry age

16

Usual completion age

18

Length of a programme (years)

2

3 (when combined with a training and apprenticeship contract)

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

Y

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

VET programmes are based on learning outcomes with a strong focus on work-based learning, following ECVET guidelines ([128]https://ec.europa.eu/education/resources-and-tools/the-european-credit-system-for-vocational-education-and-training-ecvet_en).

Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)
  • school based learning (face to face), including work-based learning at workshops, labs, simulations, etc./full-time (young people);or on a part time modular basis (adults);
  • distance learning (adults) ([129]And, in exceptional cases, workers over 16 unable to attend a regular school regime or elite athletes.);
  • dual VET (with or without a training and apprenticeship contract);
  • work placement module (formación en centros de trabajo – FCT) – compulsory training module of 400 hours.

Intermediate VET programmes run in a 2-year programme of 2 000 hours of theoretical and practical training, of which a minimum of 400 hours are completed in workplaces ([130]All VET studies include a compulsory work placement module (formación en centros de trabajo - FCT) that takes place in a company (students with previous work experience may be exempt).).

In 2016/17, 3% of learners enrolled in intermediate VET followed distance learning courses, over 2% were enrolled in the dual modality and over 45% of all learners at this stage were 20 or older ([131]MECD (2018). Nota: Estadística del alumnado de formación profesional – Estadística de las enseñanzas no universitarias. Curso 2016-2017 [Note: Statistics on non-university education. Academic year 201/17].
http://www.educacionyfp.gob.es/dam/jcr:113353c4-7f3d-4005-88ac-e944ceb94200/nota-16-17.pdf; data base:
https://www.educacionyfp.gob.es/servicios-al-ciudadano/estadisticas/no-universitaria/alumnado/formacion-profesional/2016-2017.html
).

Main providers

Main education authority VET providers include:

  • public, publicly-funded private and private institutions approved by the competent educational authority;
  • integrated training centres which are public and provide both initial vocational training within the education system, and vocational training for employment;
  • occasionally, national reference centres, which are public institutions specialised in the different professional branches, in charge of carrying out innovation and experimentation initiatives in the area of vocational training.

Public, publicly-funded private and private centres are the main providers of education authority VET programmes; only one in four learners attends private centres.

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

Up to 65%

Work-based learning type (workshops at schools, in-company training / apprenticeships)
  • practical training at school (workshops, labs, simulations, etc.);
  • work placement module (formación en centros de trabajo – FCT) – compulsory training module of 400 hours at a workplace (students with previous work experience may be exempt);
  • dual VET (apprenticeships);

(i) training and apprenticeship contracts ([132]https://www.sepe.es/HomeSepe/que-es-el-sepe/comunicacion/publicaciones/publicaciones-oficiales/listado-pub-empleo/formacion-profesional-dual-contrato-para-la-formacion-y-el-aprendizaje.html);

(ii) dual VET projects offered within the education system and implemented by the regions ( (based on learning agreements between the VET provider, the learner and the company).

Main target groups
  • learners over 16;
  • adults.

There is a large share of students older than the theoretical school age: in the school year 2016/17: 45.6% were 20 years old or older ([133]MEyFP (2019). Las cifras de la educación en España. Curso 2016-2017 (Edición 2019) [Key figures of education in Spain: academic year 2016/17 (2019 edition)].).

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

Intermediate VET are accessible to:

  • holders of the ESO ([134]Educación Secundaria Obligatoria (ESO) is the end of lower secondary compulsory education diploma, necessary to access higher level studies.) diploma;
  • graduates from Basic VET (ISCED 353) programmes;
  • young people over 17 and adults, through validation of prior learning (formal/informal/non-formal).
Assessment of learning outcomes

Assessment takes as reference the objectives, expressed in learning outcomes, and the evaluation criteria of each of the vocational modules, as well as the general objectives established (by legislation) for each VET programme.

Completion of a training programme requires a pass grade in all the vocational modules.

 marks are expressed in numbers from one to 10, whole numbers only a five or over is considered a pass;

 the work placement vocational module, however, is expressed in terms of Passed/Failed.

IVET programmes last 2 000 hours, the equivalent to two full-time academic years, up to three when taken as a dual programme. Assessment has a continuous, formative nature and is carried out by professional modules.

Diplomas/certificates provided

Intermediate VET programmes lead to a VET diploma with academic and professional validity (Título de Técnico) at ISCED level 354 allowing access to higher VET (ISCED 554) studies at tertiary level.

Examples of qualifications

Aquaculture ([135]The list of VET diplomas offered in IVET is available (in Spanish) from the Ministry of Education official website on guidance and VET, MECD. TodoFP.es: Qué, Cómo y Dónde estudiar.
http://www.todofp.es/que-como-y-donde-estudiar.html Europass supplements for Intermediate VET Diplomas are available at
http://www.todofp.es/orientacion-profesional/itinerarios-formativos-profesionales/movilidad/que-es-el-suplemento-europass/titulos-loe/grado-medio-en-ingl-s.html
) / sector: Maritime and fishing industry (Cultivos Acuícolas / Familia Profesional: Marítimo pesquera)

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Holders of an intermediate VET diploma may

  • enter the labour market;
  • enrol directly to higher VET programmes (ISCED 554);
  • return to upper secondary general education programmes ([136]Leading to Bachillerato, the end of upper secondary education diploma, necessary to access tertiary level academic studies.) if they wish, but this is rather an unusual option.
Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Y

VET diplomas, established by decrees, are composed of a set of occupational standards ([137]668 standards in 26 sector branches are listed in the national catalogue of occupational standards (Catálogo Nacional de Cualificaciones Profesionales - CNCP).
https://incual.mecd.es/documents/35348/0/folleto_incual_2015_ingles.pdf/3763b486-bc7e-4c3c-8382-a3842e4a6e19
); each of which includes a set of competence units (UCs). UC is the minimum set of professional skills that can be partially recognised and certified.

Competence units acquired either in the VET system or through validation of non-formal learning are individually assessed and certified and may be accumulated towards a full qualification in IVET and CVET.

General education subjects

Intermediate VET programmes are made up of vocational modules (which vary in length, with theoretical and practical contents corresponding to the different professional fields) and lifelong learning skills:

  • vocational modules, specific to each professional field, linked to the national catalogue of professional standards (CNCP);
  • a work placement vocational module, to be completed in a workplace;
  • one or more vocational modules related to employment guidance and labour relations and the development of the entrepreneurial spirit;
  • voluntary subjects, such as communication in Spanish, co-official and/or foreign language; applied mathematics;
  • where appropriate, any subject related to professional field easing access to higher VET programmes.
Key competences

Y

Key competences to be taken as a reference:

  • information processing and digital competence;
  • competence in linguistic communication;
  • mathematical competence;
  • competence in knowledge and interaction with the physical world;
  • social and civic competence;
Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

VET diploma programmes (established by Royal decrees) are based on learning outcomes with a strong focus on work-based learning, following ECVET guidelines. National curricula account for 55-65%, the remaining 45-35% of the programme curricula are settled at regional level aligned to local socioeconomic characteristics.

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

42%

In 2017-18, the share of learners enrolled in intermediate VET programmes was 42% (339 112 learners) against 9% in basic VET and 49% in higher VET programmes.

The majority of intermediate VET students were enrolled in full-time courses, with 8% of them participating in distance learning.

 

Evolution of IVET students in the education system, 2008-18

(*) Advance data; the data do not include certain initial VET programmes (PCPI) that have been replaced in this period, as they did not lead to a VET degree, but include those for the new Basic VET.
Source: prepared by ReferNet Spain with data from Statistics from the education ministry, 2018.

 

Arts and design programmes,

2 years

Sports programmes,

1 year

ISCED 354

Arts and design or sports programmes (Grado Medio de Artes Plásticas y Diseño o Grado Medio de Enseñanzas Deportivas), ISCED 354
EQF level
The Spanish education system is not referenced to EQF levels.
ISCED-P 2011 level

354

Usual entry grade

11

Usual completion grade

13 (for arts and design programmes)

12 (for sports programmes)

Usual entry age

17

Usual completion age

19 (for arts and design programmes)

18 (for sports programmes)

Length of a programme (years)

2 (arts and design programmes)

1 (sports programmes).

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

Compulsory education in Spain includes

  • six years in primary school (learners aged 6 to 12);
  • four years in lower secondary education (ESO in Spanish) (learners aged 12 to 16).
Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

Information not available

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

VET programmes are based on learning outcomes with a strong focus on work-based learning, following ECVET guidelines. ([126]https://ec.europa.eu/education/resources-and-tools/the-european-credit-system-for-vocational-education-and-training-ecvet_en)

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

These programmes are offered in schools that are specialised according to the type and level of education in artistic or sports fields and can only be taken face to face.

Main providers

Main education authority VET providers include public, publicly-funded private and private institutions approved by the competent educational authority.

Both type of programmes are offered by specialized providers:

  • schools of plastic arts and design: public or private centres authorized by the competent educational administration;
  • Sport programmes: they do not have a specific denomination: public or private centres authorized by the competent educational administration, whether they are integrated in the IVET centres or in sports federations' centres.
Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

Information not available

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

These programmes are offered in schools that are specialised according to the type and level of education in artistic or sports fields and can only be taken face to face.

Main target groups
  • Learners over 16
Entry requirements for learners (qualification/education level, age)

Arts and design programmes

  • holding a lower secondary education (ESO) or equivalent qualification and passing a specific test to prove knowledge and skills necessary to take advantage of these programmes;
  • exemption from the test is possible in certain cases: i.e. holding a baccalaureate in Arts, Bachelor of Fine Arts, Architecture or Technical Engineering in Industrial Design, intermediate or higher level VET diploma in Plastic Arts and design of a professional family related to the teachings to pursue, at least one year of related work experience;
  • learners not fulfilling entry requirements may sit an entry exam which consists of two parts: a general part dealing with the basic skills of Compulsory Secondary Education; and a specific part, to assess the artistic knowledge and the necessary skills to take advantage of these programmes.

Sports programmes:

They are organized in two cycles called initial or first level and final or second level.

  • entry requirements for the initial cycle of sports education: it is necessary to hold the diploma of lower secondary education or equivalent; for the final cycle of sports education, it is necessary to have passed the initial cycle in the corresponding sports specialty;
  • in addition, it may be required to pass a specific exam, or to accredit a sporting merit. High-level or high-performance athletes are exempt;
  • learners with at least 17 years and lacking the lower secondary qualification my sit an exam in relation to lower secondary education curriculum.

Entry through validation of prior learning is possible in the arts and design/sports programmes

Assessment of learning outcomes

Assessment is continuous and takes into account the progress and the academic maturity of the students, in relation to the general objectives and the professional competencies of the programme.

The evaluation is carried out by modules, taking as reference their objectives expressed in terms of skills and competences and their respective assessment criteria.

The results of the final evaluation of each module are expressed in terms of grades according to a numerical scale from zero to ten. Qualifications equal to or greater than five are considered positive and the rest negative.

The results of the evaluation of the practical training, are expressed in terms of "apt / not apt".

Diplomas/certificates provided

Arts and design or sports programmes lead to:

  • Technician diploma in arts and design (Título de Técnico de Artes Plásticas y Diseño);
  • Technician diploma in the corresponding sport (Título de Técnico deportivo que corresponda).
Examples of qualifications

Plastic arts and design in ceramic decoration (Artes Plásticas y Diseño en Decoración cerámica).

Judo and self defense (Judo y defensa personal)

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Holders of an ISCED level 354 diploma in sports or in arts and design programmes have different progression opportunities:

  • students who finish plastic arts and design or sports programmes have direct access to the general education two-year programme leading to Baccalaureate (Bachillerato);
  • students holding the diploma of plastic arts and design technician, and at least 18 years old, are able to enter, by passing a test, the higher plastic arts and design programmes;
  • students holding the diploma of sports technician can access the higher sports programmes, being at least 18 years old, and after passing a specific test of the modality or sport specialty;
  • enter the labour market.
Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Arts and design or Sports programmes, established by decrees, are composed of a set of occupational standards ([127]668 standards in 26 sector branches are listed in the national catalogue of occupational standards (Catálogo Nacional de Cualificaciones Profesionales - CNCP).
https://incual.mecd.es/documents/35348/0/folleto_incual_2015_ingles.pdf/3763b486-bc7e-4c3c-8382-a3842e4a6e19
); each of which includes a set of competence units (UCs). UC is the minimum set of professional skills that can be partially recognised and certified.

Competence units acquired either in the VET system or through validation of non-formal learning are individually assessed and certified and may be accumulated towards a full qualification in IVET and CVET.

General education subjects

N

Key competences

N

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

VET diploma programmes (established by Royal decrees) are based on learning outcomes with a strong focus on work-based learning, following ECVET guidelines.

National curricula account for 55-65%, the remaining 45-35% of the programme curricula are settled at regional level aligned to local socioeconomic characteristics.

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

<2%

In the 2016/17 school year, 12 590 students were enrolled in Art and design or Sport programmes at this level, out of 818 506 students at all education authority VET programmes.

  • 27% of them were in arts and design programmes;
  • 73% followed sports programmes.

VET available to adults (formal and non-formal)

Click on a programme type to see more info
Programme Types

Professional certificate

programmes – level 1

200-540 hours

WBL % vary

ISCED 254

Professional certificate programmes – level 1 (certificado de profesionalidad (CdP) – nivel 1)
EQF level
The Spanish VET system is not referenced to EQF levels.
ISCED-P 2011 level

254

Usual entry grade

Not applicable

Usual completion grade

Not applicable

Usual entry age

Not applicable

Usual completion age

Not applicable

Length of a programme (years)

1 (up to)

Duration of professional certificates programmes level 1 range from 200 to 540 hours, according to the structure of competences and learning outcomes to be acquired without reference to a specific academic year.

Professional certificates programmes are organized by modules (from 30 to 240 hours), which can be individually assessed and certified (accumulated) to obtain the corresponding certification.

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

Professional certificate programmes are accessible to learners over 16.

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

The Spanish VET system is governed by the education and employment ministries. Professional certificates are under the authority of the employment ministry. They are regulated by Royal Decree 34/2008. MEYSS (2008).

Is it initial VET?

N

Is it continuing VET?

Y

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

Professional certificates programmes are free of charge for certain groups, within active labour market policies.

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits
Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)
  • school based learning (face to face), including work-based learning at workshops, labs, simulations, etc.;
  • through virtual learning environments (e-learning platforms, complemented with face to face learning). The regulation specifies which CdP programmes can be delivered online, how many hours have to be face to face, and the requirements for the accreditation of e-learning platforms and tutors, as well as the evaluation and assessment procedures to ensure that e-learning training programmes meet the quality criteria set for traditional school-based VET programmes;
  • apprenticeships: the purpose of the apprenticeship contract (contrato para la formación y el aprendizaje) is the professional qualification of the workers, in a regime of alternating paid work activity in a company, with training activity.
Main providers
  • public training centres (including integrated training centres and national reference centres–CRN);
  • private training centres;
  • foundations and intermediate structures created by social partners and NGOs.

All types of providers offering programmes leading to professional certificates (CdPs) ([150]Certificados de Profesionalidad.) must by accredited by the state public employment service (SEPE) or by the regional labour authorities. CdP training centres are listed in an online search engine tool run by SEPE ([151]https://sede.sepe.gob.es/especialidadesformativas/RXBuscadorEFRED/InicioBusquedaTipoCentro.do).

CdP programme providers must comply with specific requirements on the recruitment, qualifications and professional experience of trainers; on facilities and technological equipment; and on entry criteria for trainees. These requirements are set by the labour authorities.

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

Varies

Work-based learning type (workshops at schools, in-company training / apprenticeships)
  • practical training in the training centre;
  • compulsory on-the-job training module (módulo de formación práctica en centros de trabajo);
  • training and apprenticeship contracts.

The learning outcomes of the on-the-job module must be assessed at the workplace.

The duration of the on-the-job training module depends on the profile and occupations included in the curriculum of each diploma, ranging from 5% to 52% of the total workload of the training programme.

Main target groups
  • young people over 16;
  • adults.

Most training programmes included in the different subsidised initiatives for unemployed workers are directly linked to obtaining a full or partial professional certificate (certificado de profesionalidad - CdP). The aim is to support skills development and employability.

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

Learners must be at least 16 year olds.

No other formal access requirements apply for entering level 1 professional certificate programmes (ISCED 254) and learners can move on to the next level in the same field ([152]Cedefop (2019). Spotlight on VET – 2018 compilation: vocational education and training systems in Europe. Luxembourg: Publications Office.
https://www.cedefop.europa.eu/en/publications-and-resources/publications/4168
).

Assessment of learning outcomes
  • to obtain a professional certificate, learners must successfully complete all the training modules (competence units-USs) of that certificate;
  • in addition to this training pathway, all or several of the competence units included in each certificate can be assessed and certified (accumulated) by taking part in one of the national or regional calls for validation and accreditation of non-formal learning;
  • the learning outcomes to be assessed in each module are related to knowledge as well as practical skills and abilities set in the assessment criteria of each module;
  • the accredited centres delivering CdP programmes have to submit a training project including the didactic planning and assessment of each training module making up the certificate.

Professional certificates are developed and updated by the state public employment service (SEPE), with the cooperation of the national reference centres; they are issued by the employment authorities (published in the official gazette).

Professional certificates have a double effect: they set out training programmes and award a vocational qualification.

The regulation specifies which CdP programmes can be delivered online, how many hours have to be face to face, and the requirements for the accreditation of e-learning platforms and tutors, as well as the evaluation and assessment procedures to ensure that e learning training programmes meet the quality criteria set for traditional school-based VET programmes ([153]Education authority VET programmes curricula may include one or several occupational standards.).

Diplomas/certificates provided

Professional certificates (CdPs) are based on occupational standards listed in the national catalogue of professional qualifications (CNCP) ([154]https://incual.mecd.es/documents/35348/0/folleto_incual_2015_ingles.pdf/3763b486-bc7e-4c3c-8382-a3842e4a6e19) and they are modular in nature ([155]The smallest unit that can be certified is the competence unit (unidad de competencia - UC).). Each professional certificate corresponds to a single occupational standard ([156]In some exceptional cases, an occupational standard has given rise to two CdP programmes.).

Competences units (being the minimum unit to be certified) could be accumulated towards a professional certificate. The modular structure of professional certificates serves a double purpose: tailoring training programmes to a specific job profile, and be used as a guide for the assessment of skills ([157]Links with formal education authority VET programmes: competences units acquired outside the school system may be recognised and exempted when enrolling in a formal VET programme, shortening its duration.).

Examples of qualifications

CdP level 1 - – Basic operations in accommodations (HOTA0108) / Hospitality and tourism sector branch ([158]https://www.sepe.es/SiteSepe/contenidos/personas/formacion/certificados_...)

Operaciones básicas de pisos en alojamientos / Familia Profesional: hostelería y turismo

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Holders of a professional certificate (CdP) level 1 may

  • enter the labour market;
  • may move on to the next CdP level in limited professional fields;
  • accumulate (partial) ([159]CdPs are modular; the minimum unit that can be assessed and certified is the competence unit (partial certificate).) or full CdP certificates towards the acquisition of a VET diploma (through training or validation of prior learning).
Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Y

Full or partial ([160]Professional certificates are modular in nature, composed of a set of modules (competence units - UCs), defined at national level. CdPs are listed in the national catalogue of qualifications (CNCP) structured by professional branches.) qualifications (professional certificates – CdPs) may be obtained through validation of non-formal and informal learning. The process is initiated by regional authorities through public calls for validation of non-formal and informal learning, depending on local or sectoral labour market needs.

The calls lay down which UCs are to be validated, vocational qualifications and sector branches involved, and they may also limit the maximum number of people to be assessed in each UC.

General education subjects

N

Key competences

N

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

VET programmes are based on learning outcomes with a strong focus on work-based learning, following ECVET guidelines

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

22.65% of all professional certificates issued in 2017.

 

Source: Data provided by SEPE at 06.7.2018.

 

Professional certificate

programmes – level 2

180-920 hours

WBL % vary

ISCED 351

Professional certificate programmes – level 2 certificado de profesionalidad (CdP) – nivel 2
EQF level
The Spanish education system is not referenced to EQF levels.
ISCED-P 2011 level

351

Usual entry grade

Not applicable

Usual completion grade

Not applicable

Usual entry age

Not available

Usual completion age

Not applicable

Length of a programme (years)

1 (up to)

Duration of professional certificates programmes level 2 range from 180 to 920 hours, according to the structure of competences and learning outcomes to be acquired without reference to a specific academic year.

Professional certificates programmes are organized by modules (from 30 to 430 hours), which can be individually assessed and certified (accumulated) to obtain the corresponding certification.

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

Professional certificate programmes are accessible to learners over 16

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

The Spanish VET system is governed by the education and employment ministries. Professional certificates are under the authority of the employment ministry. They are regulated by Royal Decree 34/2008. MEYSS (2008).

Is it initial VET?

N

Is it continuing VET?

Y

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

Professional certificates programmes are free of charge for certain groups, within active labour market policies

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits
Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)
  • School based learning (face to face learning) including work-based learning at workshops, labs, simulations, etc.;
  • through virtual learning environments (e-learning platforms, complemented with face to face learning) The regulation specifies which CdP programmes can be delivered online, how many hours have to be face to face, and the requirements for the accreditation of e-learning platforms and tutors, as well as the evaluation and assessment procedures to ensure that e-learning training programmes meet the quality criteria set for traditional school-based VET programmes.
  • apprenticeships: the purpose of the apprenticeship contract (contrato para la formación y el aprendizaje) is the professional qualification of the workers, in a regime of alternating paid work activity in a company, with training activity.
Main providers
  • public training centres (including integrated training centres and national reference centres–CRN);
  • private training centres;
  • foundations and intermediate structures created by social partners and NGO.

All types of providers offering programmes leading to professional certificates (CdPs) ([162]Certificados de Profesionalidad.) must by accredited by the state public employment service (SEPE) or by the regional labour authorities. CdP training centres are listed in an online search engine tool run by SEPE ([163]https://sede.sepe.gob.es/especialidadesformativas/RXBuscadorEFRED/InicioBusquedaTipoCentro.do).

Professional certificate programme providers must comply with specific requirements on the recruitment, qualifications and professional experience of trainers; on facilities and technological equipment; and on entry criteria for trainees. These requirements are set by the labour authorities.

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

Varies

Work-based learning type (workshops at schools, in-company training / apprenticeships)
  • practical training in the training centre;
  • compulsory on-the-job training module (módulo de formación práctica en centros de trabajo);
  • training and apprenticeship contracts.

The learning outcomes of the on-the-job module must be assessed at the workplace.

The duration of the on-the-job training module depends on the profile and occupations included in the curriculum of each diploma, ranging from 5% to 52% of the total workload of the training programme.

Main target groups
  • young people over 16;
  • adults.

Most training programmes included in the different subsidised initiatives for unemployed workers are directly linked to obtaining a full or partial professional certificate (certificado de profesionalidad - CdP). The aim is to support skills development and employability.

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

Learners must have completed compulsory education (ESO), or equivalent level studies ([164]Cedefop (2019). Spotlight on VET – 2018 compilation: vocational education and training systems in Europe. Luxembourg: Publications Office.
https://www.cedefop.europa.eu/en/publications-and-resources/publications/4168
).

Assessment of learning outcomes
  • to obtain a professional certificate, learners must successfully complete all the training modules (competence units-USs) of that certificate;
  • in addition to this training pathway, all or several of the competence units included in each certificate can be assessed and certified (accumulated) by taking part in one of the national or regional calls for validation and accreditation of non-formal learning;
  • the learning outcomes to be assessed in each module are related to knowledge as well as practical skills and abilities set in the assessment criteria of each module;
  • the accredited centres delivering CdP programmes have to submit a training project including the didactic planning and assessment of each training module making up the certificate.

Professional certificates are developed and updated by the state public employment service (SEPE), with the cooperation of the national reference centres; they are issued by the employment authorities (published in the official gazette).

Professional certificates have a double effect: they set out training programmes and award a vocational qualification.

The regulation specifies which CdP programmes can be delivered online, how many hours have to be face to face, and the requirements for the accreditation of e-learning platforms and tutors, as well as the evaluation and assessment procedures to ensure that e learning training programmes meet the quality criteria set for traditional school-based VET programmes ([165]Education authority VET programmes curricula may include one or several occupational standards.).

Diplomas/certificates provided

Professional certificates (CdPs) are based on occupational standards listed in the national catalogue of professional qualifications (CNCP) ([166]https://incual.mecd.es/documents/35348/0/folleto_incual_2015_ingles.pdf/3763b486-bc7e-4c3c-8382-a3842e4a6e19) and they are modular in nature ([167]The smallest unit that can be certified is the competence unit (unidad de competencia - UC).). Each professional certificate corresponds to a single occupational standard ([168]In some exceptional cases, an occupational standard has given rise to two CdP programmes.).

Competences units (being the minimum unit to be certified) could be accumulated towards a professional certificate. The modular structure of professional certificates serves a double purpose: tailoring training programmes to a specific job profile, and be used as a guide for the assessment of skills ([169]Links with formal education authority VET programmes: competences units acquired outside the school system may be recognised and exempted when enrolling in a formal VET programme, shortening its duration.).

These certificates are recognised by the education and labour authorities.

Examples of qualifications

CdP level 2 - Assistance to rail transport passengers (HOTT0112) / Hospitality and tourism sector branch ([170]https://www.sepe.es/SiteSepe/contenidos/personas/formacion/certificados_...).

Atención a pasajeros en transporte ferroviario/ Familia Profesional: hostelería y turismo.

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Holders of a professional certificate (CdP) level 2 may

  • enter the labour market;
  • may move on to the next CdP level in limited professional fields;
  • accumulate partial ([171]CdPs are modular; the minimum unit that can be assessed and certified is the competence unit (partial certificate).) or full CdP certificates towards the acquisition of a VET diploma (through (through training or validation of prior learning).
Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Y

Full or partial ([172]Professional certificates are modular in nature, composed of a set of modules (competence units - UCs), defined at national level. CdPs are listed in the national catalogue of qualifications (CNCP) structured by professional branches.) qualifications (professional certificates – CdPs) may be obtained through validation of non-formal and informal learning. The process is initiated by regional authorities through public calls for validation of non-formal and informal learning, depending on local or sectoral labour market needs.

The calls lay down which UCs are to be validated, vocational qualifications and sector branches involved, and they may also limit the maximum number of people to be assessed in each UC.

General education subjects

N

Key competences

N

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

VET programmes are based on learning outcomes with a strong focus on work-based learning, following ECVET guidelines

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

55.35% of all professional certificates issued in 2017.

 

Source: Data provided by SEPE at 06.7.2018.

 

Professional certificate

programmes – level 3

240-1 110 hours

WBL % vary

ISCED 453

Professional certificate programmes – level 3 certificado de profesionalidad (CdP) – nivel 3
EQF level
The Spanish education system is not referenced to EQF levels.
ISCED-P 2011 level

453

Usual entry grade

Not applicable

Usual completion grade

Not applicable

Usual entry age

Not applicable

Usual completion age

Not applicable

Length of a programme (years)

1 (up to)

Duration of professional certificates programmes level 3 range from 240 to 1 110 hours, according to the structure of competences and learning outcomes to be acquired without reference to a specific academic year.

Professional certificates programmes are organized by modules (from 30 to 360 hours), which can be individually assessed and certified (accumulated) to obtain the corresponding certification.

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

Professional certificate programmes are accessible to learners over 16

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

The Spanish VET system is governed by the education and employment ministries. Professional certificates are under the authority of the employment ministry. They are regulated by Royal Decree 34/2008. MEYSS (2008).

Is it initial VET?

N

Is it continuing VET?

Y

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

Professional certificates programmes are free of charge for certain groups, within active labour market policies.

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits
Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)
  • school based learning (face to face learning) including work-based learning at workshops, labs, simulations, etc;
  • through virtual learning environments (e-learning platforms, complemented with face to face learning) The regulation specifies which CdP programmes can be delivered online, how many hours have to be face to face, and the requirements for the accreditation of e-learning platforms and tutors, as well as the evaluation and assessment procedures to ensure that e-learning training programmes meet the quality criteria set for traditional school-based VET programmes.
  • apprenticeships: the purpose of the apprenticeship contract (contrato para la formación y el aprendizaje) is the professional qualification of the workers, in a regime of alternating paid work activity in a company, with training activity.
Main providers
  • public training centres (including integrated training centres and national reference centres–CRN);
  • private training centres;
  • foundations and intermediate structures created by social partners and NGOs.

All types of providers offering programmes leading to professional certificates (CdPs) ([174]Certificados de Profesionalidad.) must by accredited by the state public employment service (SEPE) or by the regional labour authorities. CdP training centres are listed in an online search engine tool run by SEPE ([175]https://sede.sepe.gob.es/especialidadesformativas/RXBuscadorEFRED/InicioBusquedaTipoCentro.do).

CdP programme providers must comply with specific requirements on the recruitment, qualifications and professional experience of trainers; on facilities and technological equipment; and on entry criteria for trainees. These requirements are set by the labour authorities.

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

Varies

Work-based learning type (workshops at schools, in-company training / apprenticeships)
  • practical training in the training centre;
  • compulsory on-the-job training module (módulo de formación práctica en centros de trabajo);
  • training and apprenticeship contracts;

The learning outcomes of the on-the-job module must be assessed at the workplace.

The duration of the on-the-job training module depends on the profile and occupations included in the curriculum of each diploma, ranging from 5% to 52% of the total workload of the training programme.

Main target groups
  • young people over 16;
  • adults.

Most training programmes included in the different subsidised initiatives for unemployed workers are directly linked to obtaining a full or partial professional certificate (certificado de profesionalidad - CdP). The aim is to support skills development and employability.

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

Learners must have completed upper secondary education (Bachillerato), or equivalent level studies ([176]Cedefop (2019). Spotlight on VET – 2018 compilation: vocational education and training systems in Europe. Luxembourg: Publications Office.
https://www.cedefop.europa.eu/en/publications-and-resources/publications/4168
).

Assessment of learning outcomes
  • to obtain a professional certificate, learners must successfully complete all the training modules (competence units-USs) of that certificate;
  • in addition to this training pathway, all or several of the competence units included in each certificate can be assessed and certified (accumulated) by taking part in one of the national or regional calls for validation and accreditation of non-formal learning;
  • the learning outcomes to be assessed in each module are related to knowledge as well as practical skills and abilities set in the assessment criteria of each module;
  • the accredited centres delivering CdP programmes have to submit a training project including the didactic planning and assessment of each training module making up the certificate.

Professional certificates are developed and updated by the state public employment service (SEPE), with the cooperation of the national reference centres; they are issued by the employment authorities (published in the official gazette).

Professional certificates have a double effect: they set out training programmes and award a vocational qualification.

The regulation specifies which professional certificate programmes can be delivered online, how many hours have to be face to face, and the requirements for the accreditation of e-learning platforms and tutors, as well as the evaluation and assessment procedures to ensure that e learning training programmes meet the quality criteria set for traditional school-based VET programmes ([177]Education authority VET programmes curricula may include one or several occupational standards.).

Diplomas/certificates provided

Professional certificates (CdPs) are based on occupational standards listed in the national catalogue of professional qualifications (CNCP) ([178]https://incual.mecd.es/documents/35348/0/folleto_incual_2015_ingles.pdf/3763b486-bc7e-4c3c-8382-a3842e4a6e19) and they are modular in nature ([179]The smallest unit that can be certified is the competence unit (unidad de competencia - UC).). Each professional certificate corresponds to a single occupational standard ([180]In some exceptional cases, an occupational standard has given rise to two CdP programmes.).

Competences units (being the minimum unit to be certified) could be accumulated towards a professional certificate. The modular structure of professional certificates serves a double purpose: tailoring training programmes to a specific job profile, and be used as a guide for the assessment of skills ([181]Links with formal education authority VET programmes: competences units acquired outside the school system may be recognised and exempted when enrolling in a formal VET programme, shortening its duration.).

These certificates are recognised by the education and labour authorities.

Examples of qualifications

CdP level 3 – Process management in restaurant and catering services (HOTR0409) / Hospitality and tourism sector branch ([182]https://www.sepe.es/SiteSepe/contenidos/personas/formacion/certificados_de_profesionalidad/pdf/europass/N3_HOTR0409_in_pub.pdf)

Gestión de procesos de servicio en restauración / Familia Profesional: hostelería y turismo

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Holders of a professional certificate (CdP) level 3 may

  • enter the labour market;
  • accumulate (partial) ([183]CdPs are modular; the minimum unit that can be assessed and certified is the competence unit (partial certificate).) or full CdP certificates towards the acquisition of a VET diploma (through training or validation of prior learning).
Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Y

Full or partial ([184]Professional certificates are modular in nature, composed of a set of modules (competence units - UCs), defined at national level. CdPs are listed in the national catalogue of qualifications (CNCP) structured by professional branches.) qualifications (professional certificates – CdPs) may be obtained through validation of non-formal and informal learning. The process is initiated by regional authorities through public calls for validation of non-formal and informal learning, depending on local or sectoral labour market needs.

The calls lay down which UCs are to be validated, vocational qualifications and sector branches involved, and they may also limit the maximum number of people to be assessed in each UC.

General education subjects

N

Key competences

N

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

VET programmes are based on learning outcomes with a strong focus on work-based learning, following ECVET guidelines

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

22.01% of all professional certificates issued in 2017

 

Source: Data provided by SEPE at 06.7.2018.