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General themes

VET in Malta comprises the following main features:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

Source: Eurostat, proj_15ndbims [extracted 16.5.2019].

 

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

Not applicable

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

The decrease (-0.1 pp) in employment of 20-34 year-old VET graduates in 2014-18 was lower compared to the increase in employment of all 20-34 year-old graduates (+4.1 pp) in the same period in Malta ([18]NB: Breaks in time series, Eurostat, edat_lfse_24 [extracted 16.5.2019].).

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

 

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

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

 

Share of learners in VET by level in 2017

lower secondary

upper secondary

post-secondary

0.5%

27.1%

Not applicable

NB: Data based on ISCED 2011.

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

 

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

NB: Data based on ISCED 2011.
Source: Eurostat, educ_uoe_enrs04 [extracted 16.5.2019].

 

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

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

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

 

Early leavers from education and training in 2009-18

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

 

Drop-out rate in VET

Information not available

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

 

Participation in lifelong learning in 2014-18

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

 

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

Information not available

The education and training system comprises:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

VET in higher education includes:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Public spending on education

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Upper secondary and higher initial VET and continuing VET

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Initial VET

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Continuing VET

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tax deduction

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

Other incentives

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Compulsory education

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

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

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

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

VET providers and Jobsplus

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

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

Towards a national guidance service

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

Please see:

Vocational education and training system chart

Tertiary

Click on a programme type to see more info
Programme Types

EQF 5

VET higher diploma

programmes,

WBL 25-40%,

1-2 years

ISCED 554

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

554

Usual entry grade

13+

Usual completion grade

13+

Usual entry age

18+

Usual completion age

20+

Length of a programme (years)

2 (up to)

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

Y

Is it offered free of charge?

N

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

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

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

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

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

25-40%

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

Programmes are available for young people and also for adults.

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

Learners must hold:

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

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

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

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

Students have the possibility to have a resit.

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

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

Diplomas/certificates provided

Malta College of Arts, Science and Technology higher diploma

Institute of Tourism Studies diploma

Examples of qualifications

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

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

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

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Y

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

General education subjects

Y

Key competences

Y

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

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

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

EQF 6

VET bachelor degree

Programmes,

WBL 15-20%,

3-4 years

ISCED 655

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

655

Usual entry grade

18+

Usual completion grade

21+

Usual entry age

18+

Usual completion age

21+

Length of a programme (years)

From 3 to 4

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

Y

Is it offered free of charge?

N

Unless a private provider is chosen by the learner

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

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

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

180 credits (ECVET) – Three-year bachelor course

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

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

25%

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

Programmes are available for adults.

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

Learners must hold an EQF level 4 certificate.

Assessment of learning outcomes

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

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

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

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

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

Assessment also includes the presentation of a dissertation.

Diplomas/certificates provided

VET bachelor degree

Examples of qualifications

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

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

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

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Y

General education subjects

Y

Key competences

Y

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

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

>1% ([92]2016)

EQF 7

Masters

programmes,

2-3 years

ISCED 767

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

767

Usual entry grade

13+

Usual completion grade

13+

Usual entry age

22+

Usual completion age

25+

Length of a programme (years)

3 (up to)

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

Y

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

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

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

private VET providers

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

0

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

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

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

Learners must hold an EQF level 6 qualification.

Assessment of learning outcomes

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

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

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

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

Assessment also includes the presentation of a dissertation.

Diplomas/certificates provided

Master’s degree

Examples of qualifications

Specialist in product design, specialist in mechatronics,

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

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

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

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Y

General education subjects

Y

Key competences

Y

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

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

> 1% ([95]2016)

Post-secondary

Click on a programme type to see more info
Programme Types

EQF 4

College-based

programmes,

WBL 25-40%,

2 years

ISCED 354

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

354

Usual entry grade

13

Usual completion grade

13

Usual entry age

16-18

Usual completion age

18-20

Length of a programme (years)

2 (up to)

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

Y

Is it offered free of charge?

N

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

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

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

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

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

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

25-40%

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

Programmes are available for young people and also for adults.

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

Learners must hold at least 4 EQF level 3 certificates

preferably related to the study area.

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

Or

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

Or

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

Assessment of learning outcomes

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

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

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

Students have the possibility to have a resit.

Certification is available at all levels.

Diplomas/certificates provided

EQF/MQF Level 4 advanced diploma qualifications

(120 credits-ECVET)

Examples of qualifications

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

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

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

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Y

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

General education subjects

Y

Key competences

Y

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

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

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

EQF 4

Apprenticeship schemes,

WBL 25%,

2-3 years

ISCED 354

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

354

Usual entry grade

13

Usual completion grade

13

Usual entry age

16-18

Usual completion age

18-20

Length of a programme (years)

From 2 to 3

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

Y

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

Unless a private provider is chosen by the learner

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

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

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

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

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

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

25%

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

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

Main target groups

Programmes are available for young people and also for adults.

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

Learners must hold at least 4 EQF level 3 certificates,

preferably related to the study area.

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

Or

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

Or

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

Assessment of learning outcomes

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

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

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

Students have the possibility to have a resit.

Certification is available at all levels.

Diplomas/certificates provided

EQF/MQF Level 4 Advanced Diploma Qualifications

(120 credits-ECVET)

Examples of qualifications

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

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

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

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Y

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

General education subjects

Y

Key competences

Y

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

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

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

Secondary

Click on a programme type to see more info
Programme Types

EQF 1

College-based

introduction programme,

1 year

ISCED level 353

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

353

Usual entry grade

12

Usual completion grade

13

Usual entry age

16

Usual completion age

17

Length of a programme (years)

1

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

Y

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

Is it offered free of charge?

N

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

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

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

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

VET level 1: 40 credits

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

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

10%

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

Programmes are available for young people and also for adults.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This award is allotted 30 credits.

Assessment of learning outcomes

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

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

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

Students have the possibility to have a resit.

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

Certification is available at any stage.

Diplomas/certificates provided

Introductory certificate

Examples of qualifications

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

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

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

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

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Y

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

General education subjects

Y

Key competences

Y

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

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

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

EQF 2

College-based

introduction and foundation

programmes,

WBL 0-10%,

1 year

ISCED 353

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

353

Usual entry grade

12

Usual completion grade

13

Usual entry age

16

Usual completion age

17

Length of a programme (years)

2 (up to)

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

Y

Is it offered free of charge?

N

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

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

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

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

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

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

10%

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

Programmes are available for young people and for adults.

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

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

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

Or

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

Together with an initial assessment test.

Assessment of learning outcomes

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

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

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

Students have the possibility to have a resit.

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

Certification is available at any stage.

Diplomas/certificates provided

Foundation certificate

Level 2 (60 credits - ECVET)

Examples of qualifications

Hairdressing assistant, beauty therapist assistant

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

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

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

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Y

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

General education subjects

Y

Key competences

Y

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

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

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

EQF 3

College-based

Programmes,

WBL 20%,

1-2 years

ISCED 353

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

353

Usual entry grade

12

Usual completion grade

12

Usual entry age

17

Usual completion age

18-19

Length of a programme (years)

From 1 to 2

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

Y

Is it offered free of charge?

N

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

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

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

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

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

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

20%

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

Programmes are available for young people and for adults.

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

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

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

Or

Malta College of Arts, Science and Technology foundation certificate

Assessment of learning outcomes

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

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

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

Students have the possibility to have a resit.

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

Certification is available at any stage.

Diplomas/certificates provided

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

Examples of qualifications

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

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

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

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Y

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

General education subjects

Y

Key competences

Y

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

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

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

EQF 3

Apprenticeship schemes,

WBL 25%,

1-2 years

ISCED 353

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

353

Usual entry grade

12

Usual completion grade

12

Usual entry age

17

Usual completion age

18-19

Length of a programme (years)

2 (up to)

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

Y

Is it offered free of charge?

N

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

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

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

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

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

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

25%

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

Programmes are available for young people and also for adults.

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

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

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

Or

Malta College of Arts, Science and Technology foundation certificate

Assessment of learning outcomes

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

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

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

Students have the possibility to have a resit.

Certification is available at all levels.

Diplomas/certificates provided

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

Examples of qualifications

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

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

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

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Y

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

General education subjects

Y

Key competences

Y

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

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

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

VET available to adults (formal and non-formal)

Programme Types
Not available

General themes

VET in Bulgaria comprises the following main features:

  • VET governance is multi-layered (national, regional, local);
  • there are four  VET qualification levels (ranging from EQF [1]European qualifications framework for lifelong learning (EQF). The European qualifications framework for lifelong learning is a common European reference framework whose purpose is to make qualifications more readable and understandable across different countries and systems. Covering qualifications at all levels and in all sub-systems of education and training, it provides a comprehensive overview over qualifications in the 39 European countries currently involved in its implementation. The core of the European qualifications framework. is its eight reference levels defined in terms of learning outcomes, i.e. knowledge, skills and autonomy-responsibility. Learning outcomes express what individuals know, understand and are able to do at the end of a learning process. Countries develop national qualifications frameworks (NQFs) to implement the European qualifications framework. The implementation of the European qualifications framework was based on the Recommendation on the European qualifications framework for lifelong learning adopted by the European Parliament and the Council on 23 April 2008(EC 111/01/2008). A revised and strengthened Recommendation on the European qualifications framework (EC/189/03/2017) was adopted on 22 May 2017 by the Education, Youth, Culture and Sport Council. The purpose of this revised recommendation is to ensure the continuity as well as a further deepening of the European qualifications framework.
    level 2 to EQF level 5);
  • dual VET (introduced in 2014) remains a major challenge for the country;
  • state educational standards play a major role in shaping qualifications and curricula.

Distinctive features [2]Adapted from Cedefop (2018). Spotlight on vocational education and training in Bulgaria. Luxembourg: Publications Office. http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/files/8120_en.pdf

VET is provided at secondary and post-secondary (non-tertiary) levels. There are more learners in VET compared with general education: 51.7% of the total secondary education population in 2017 and 54,5 % in 2018. Secondary general education schools may also open VET classes by a special order of the Education Minister. This option is popular in small towns and rural areas.

Since 2016/17, secondary education has been offered in two stages. This improves access to VET, as learners may now choose their education path also after completing grade 10.

In the national context, the term initial VET is only used to refer to programmes leading learners to their first qualification, such as textile worker qualification at EQF levels 2 or its part.

VET programmes are pursued afterwards; for example, textile production operator and textile technician qualifications at EQF level 3 and 4 are considered continuing VET.

According to the pre-school and school education act and the VET act, the acquisition of vocational qualifications is regulated by State educational standards. These standards exist for most VET qualifications. VET qualifications at all levels (EQF 2 to 5) are learning outcomes based.

Following the European credit system for VET (ECVET) [3]https://ec.europa.eu/education/resources-and-tools/the-european-credit-system-for-vocational-education-and-training-ecvet_en
principles, recent qualifications comprise units of learning outcomes, although a credit system is not yet fully established.

The legal basis for validation of non-formal and informal learning in VET has been in place since 2015 and procedures and quality assurance criteria have been developed. Implementation of the Bulgarian qualifications framework will ease putting validation arrangements in place.

 

To make VET more responsive to labour market needs, the pre-school and school education act (2015), which covers VET, increased the responsibility of local and regional authorities.

The reform increased their role in planning VET intake and defining occupations, funding staff salaries, organising vocational training for the unemployed, and equipping VET schools.

Employer organisations are also becoming more actively involved in implementing VET. Since the 2016 amendments to the VET act, they can propose changes to the list of VET qualifications.

Since the introduction in 2015/16, some schools have started offering dual VET programmes. Several pilot projects supporting dual training aim at expanding the training offer in cooperation with business and public authorities from Bulgaria and abroad. Measures, including specialised forums, media campaigns and events, help attract learners and motivate employers to become involved in dual VET that is still mostly project-based.

To address quality concerns, the Ministry of Education and Science is adopting the European quality assurance reference framework (EQAVET). The 2015 quality assurance regulation mandates VET providers for adult training to organise self-assessment based on a set of indicators.

The government is strengthening initial training and continuing professional development opportunities for VET teachers and trainers to motivate more young people to enter the profession. The new system helps them to keep up with technological innovation and modern teaching methods, and allows for faster career advancement linked to performance.

The 2015-17 VET strategy action plan proposes ways to address the challenges: modularisation, more flexible VET provision, and better and more easily accessible career guidance services. Its implementation is also likely to contribute to raising adult participation in learning, which is currently among the lowest in the EU.

There is a high level of skills mismatch. According to the NSI business inquiries in March 2019 37.0% of the industrial enterprises pointed out the labour shortages a factor limiting their activity. In comparison with the same period of previous year (March 2018) the value of the indicator increased by 4 p.p. to 33.3%.

Data from VET in Bulgaria Spotlight 2018 [4]Adapted from Cedefop (2018). Spotlight on vocational education and training in Bulgaria. Luxembourg: Publications Office. http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/files/8120_en.pdf

Population in 2018: 7 050 034 [5]NB: Data for population as of 1 January. Eurostat table tps00001 [extracted 28.1.2019

It decreased by 3.2% since 2013 due to negative natural growth and migration [6]NB: Data for population as of 1 January. Eurostat table tps00001 [extracted 16.5.2019].
.

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

An old-age dependency ratio is expected to increase from 30 in 2015 to 63 in 2060.

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

Source: Eurostat, proj_15ndbims [extracted on 24.01.2019]

Demographic changes have an impact on vocational education and training (VET). Participation in secondary education has been decreasing. This has led to optimisation of a school network aiming at better efficiency while safeguarding the quality. Since the academic year 2013/14, the number of VET schools has decreased by 11.9% up to 2018/19. However the number of VET centres has increased by 12.4% for the same period. Adjustments will continue in line with demographic trends.

 

Main economic sectors:

  • manufacturing;
  • wholesale and retail trade;
  • construction;
  • public administration;
  • agriculture, forestry and fishing;
  • transportation and storage.

Export comprises mainly manufactured goods, machinery and transport equipment, miscellaneous manufactured articles, food and live animals, chemical and mineral fuel, beverages and tobacco.

Not many occupations/professions are regulated and the labour market is considered flexible.

Total unemployment [7]Percentage of active population, 25 to 74 years old.
(2018): 4.9% (6% in EU-28); it decreased by 0.1 percentage point since 2008 [8]Eurostat, une_rt_a [extracted 20.5.2019]. 
.

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

NB: Data based on ISCED 2011; breaks in time series; low reliability for ISCED 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 after the crisis as unskilled workers are more vulnerable to unemployment. People with low qualifications are more likely to be unemployed. In 2018, the unemployment rate of people with medium-level qualifications, including most VET graduates (ISCED levels 3 and 4) is back to the levels of the pre-crisis years.

Employment rate of 20 to 34-year-old VET graduates increased from from 77.6% in 2014 to 84.6% in 2018.

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

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

The increase (+7 pp) in employment of 20-34 year-old VET graduates is lower compared to the increase in employment of all 20-34 year-old graduates (+7.7 pp) in the same period in Bulgaria [9]NB: Data based on ISCED 2011; breaks in time series. ISCED 3-4 = upper secondary and post-secondary non-tertiary education; Eurostat, edat_lfse_24 [extracted 16.5.2019]. 
.

The share of the population aged up to 64 with higher education (28.2%) places Bulgaria below the EU28 average. The share of those with low or without qualifications places Bulgaria (17.4%) almost in the middle of EU-28 Member States.

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
3.7% 50.7% 100%

NB: Data based on ISCED 2011.

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

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

NB: Data based on ISCED 2011.
Source: Eurostat, educ_uoe_enrs04 [extracted 16.5.2019]

Traditionally there are more females (53.2% for 2018) in VET [10]http://www.nsi.bg/en/content/4921/persons-who-attained-professional-qualification-level-vocational-training
. Females enrol more often in economics and administration programmes (the most popular options), services (tourism, hotels and restaurants) as well as design and clothing industry. Males prefer programmes related to computer systems and coding (the most popular options), transport, agriculture, economy, construction. 

The share of early leavers from education and training has decreased from 14.7% in 2009 to 12.7% in 2018. It is 2.1 pp above the EU-28 average and also above 11.0%, the national country target.

Early leavers from education and training in 2009-18

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

Dropout rate from VET (%)

 

Lifelong learning offers training opportunities for young people and adults.

Participation in lifelong learning in 2014-18

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

Participation in lifelong learning in Bulgaria has slightly increased in the past decade. However, it is well below the EU28 average (with 2.5% participation in lifelong learning in 2018). Increasing participation is one of the biggest challenges that the country faces.

Information not available

The education and training system comprises:

  • primary and lower secondary education (1, 2 and 3);
  • secondary education comprises general (profiled) (ISCED 344 and 341) and VET programmes (ISCED 351 and 354) in two subsequent stages: the first (3-year, grades 8-10) and the second (2-year, grades 11-12). It is compulsory for learners until they reach age 16. At the end of stage two, learners who pass State matriculation examinations (matura) (Bulgarian language in addition to another subject or – for VET learners – State qualification examination) receive a secondary education diploma (EQF level 4) and certificate for VET qualification after successful passing the State qualification examination. Others receive a certificate for the completion of secondary education with access to vocational training for adults but not to higher education. VET programmes provide graduates with general education diploma in addition to a VET qualification certificate;
  • post-secondary non-tertiary VET (ISCED level 4);
  • higher education (ISCED levels 6, 7 and 8);
  • apprenticeships, internships and dual VET (range of VET qualifications ranging from  ISCED 351 to 454).

Primary and lower secondary education (grades 1-7) is compulsory [11]Education is compulsory till the age of 16.  
. Primary education starts at age seven and is provided by State, municipal and private schools. There are no VET programmes at this level. Graduates may continue to general or vocational secondary education. In 2016/17, all general secondary education programmes became ‘profiled’, i.e. they specialise on a selected subject, for example, mathematics, natural sciences or foreign languages.

Secondary education comprises general (profiled) (ISCED 344 and 341) and VET programmes (ISCED 351 and 354) in two subsequent stages: the first (3-year, grades 8-10) and the second (2-year, grades 11-12). It is compulsory for learners until they reach age 16. At the end of stage two, learners who pass State matriculation examinations (matura) (Bulgarian language in addition to another subject or – for VET learners – State qualification examination) receive a secondary education diploma (EQF level 4) and certificate for VET qualification after successfully passing the State qualification examination. Others receive a certificate for the completion of secondary education with access to vocational training for adults but not to higher education. VET programmes provide graduates with a general education diploma in addition to a VET qualification certificate.

Higher education comprises the following programmes:

  • professional bachelor (ISCED 655, EQF level 6; NQF level 6a);
  • bachelor (ISCED 645, EQF level 6; NQF level 6b);
  • master’s (ISCED 766, 767, EQF/ NQF level 7);​
  • PhD (ISCED 864, EQF/ NQF level 8). 

School based VET is provided only at a secondary level. Until August 2016, the lowest level of qualification could also be acquired in lower secondary education programmes. Out-of-school adults (16+) can still acquire the lowest VET qualification level (VET qualification level 1, EQF level 2) before secondary education.

Secondary VET aims at obtaining a vocational qualification but also comprises a general education part that is required to acquire a secondary education diploma.
Vocational education and training complies with the requirements of the State educational standards and consists of theory and (study and production) practice.

Post-secondary, non-tertiary vocational qualifications (ISCED 2011 level 4, EQF level 5) can be acquired only by people with completed secondary education. The acquired qualification at this level provides access to the labour market.

Examples of such qualifications are company manager, hotel manager, restaurant manager as well as sports and military/defence qualifications.

Training in real work environment: apprenticeships, internships, dual VET

There are several types of training in real work environment.

In 1992, so-called apprenticeships for employees were introduced. They often guarantee a job at the end of training, according to the contract with the employer. The duration of this type of apprenticeships is up to six months.

In 2014, internships were introduced for young people (up to 29 years old) who have already acquired a VET qualification (or higher education degree) but have no work experience in the profession. The duration of internships is between six and 12 months.

Since 2014, dual VET has started to evolve. It allows learners to acquire VET qualifications. The practical training in a company alternates with periods of theoretical training in a school or another VET provider. In-company trainers (mentors) are responsible for the practical training.

For adult learners the following options are available in order to acquire a VET qualification:

  • 300 hours for EQF level 2;
  • 660 hours for EQF level 3;
  • 960 hours for EQF level 4;
  • 1 260 hours for EQF level 5.

The legal framework distinguishes six types of initial and continuing VET (IVET and CVET) programmes, defines age and entry requirements, and regulates content and duration.

There are several types of training in real work environment.

In 1992, so-called apprenticeships for employees were introduced. They often guarantee a job at the end of training, according to the contract with the employer. The duration of this type of apprenticeships is up to six months.

In 2014, internships were introduced for young people (up to 29 years old) who have already acquired a VET qualification (or higher education degree) but have no work experience in the profession. The duration of internships is between six and 12 months.

Since 2014, dual VET has started to evolve. It allows learners to acquire VET qualifications. The practical training in a company alternates with periods of theoretical training in a school or another VET provider. In-company trainers (mentors) are responsible for the practical training. They are required to have a VET or higher education qualification and at least three years of professional experience.

More information for Bulgaria is available at: http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/en/publications-and-resources/data-visualisations/apprenticeship-schemes/country-fiches/bulgaria

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

VET stakeholders are the following:

  • the National Assembly of the Republic of Bulgaria – implements the legislative activity in the field of VET;
  • the Council of Ministers sets out the government policy in the field of VET;
  • the education ministry manages, coordinates and implements the VET policy;
  • the labour ministry participates in the implementation of the national VET policy;
  • the culture ministry implements the VET policy in art schools;
  • the sports ministry implements the VET policy in sports schools;
  • the health ministry participates in the coordination of the list of professions;
  • the sectoral ministries are involved in the development, coordination and updating of the State educational standards for the acquisition of qualifications; in the development, coordination and updating of the list of professions; in coordinating the admission plan for schools, funded by them;
  • the employers’ representatives participate in the development, coordination and updating of the State educational standards for the acquisition of qualifications, the legislative framework and policy documents, as well as in the updating of the list of professions and in organising and conducting qualification examinations;
  • the Economic and Social Council discusses and makes proposals with regard to issues, related to education, including VET in the context of lifelong learning;
  • the National Council for Tripartite Cooperation discusses and gives opinions on draft legislation regarding employment and vocational qualification and thus participates in the formulation of VET policy. The Council is composed on the tripartite principle. It is a body for consultations and cooperation at a national level for labour, social insurance and living standard issues, consisting of two representatives of the government (of whom one is the Vice Prime Minister), two representatives of trade unions and two representatives of employers’ organisations;
  • the National Council for Vocational Qualifications at the labour ministry coordinates the development of national policies and strategies for training for unemployed and employees, leading to the acquisition of professional qualifications;
  • the National Council for the Promotion of Employment at the labour ministry is also constituted on the tripartite principle. Its functions are to discuss and give opinions regarding the development and implementation of the employment policy and the national action plan for employment.
  • the National Agency for Vocational Education and Training (NAVET) is a specialised body within the Council of Ministers. The Agency develops the State educational standards for the acquisition of VET qualifications; it maintains the list of professions according to the needs of the labour market; it licenses and exercises further control over the activities of VET institutions for people over 16 years of age and over the activities of vocational guidance providers;
  • the Employment Agency implements the State policy on promoting employment and provides career information, counselling and training for employees and unemployed;
  • the Human Resource Development Centre is a national agency, which coordinates the management and administration of the EU Erasmus+ Programme;
  • the National Inspectorate of Education is a new structure (2018). The Inspectorate does not exercise control over the activities of directors and teachers in schools and kindergartens. In fact, the inspection, performed by the inspectorate, is the process of preparing a comprehensive independent assessment of the quality of services provided by kindergarten or school education at some point of their Activities, based on criteria and indicators, grouped into fields.

At regional level:

  • the regional administration participates in the implementation of the government policy for employment and acquisition of VET qualifications;
  • the Regional Employment Service Directorates implement the government policy for training of unemployed and employed adults for acquiring a vocational qualification; they offer training measures and projects; provide coordination and support in the field of vocational training, consultancy of and guidance for the local employment offices;
  • the regional management units of the education ministry (territorial administrative units of the education ministry, situated in the 28 district centres) implement the State policy in the field of VET at a regional level through projects, programmes and strategies for development, functioning and improvement of VET at a district level;
  • the permanent and temporary employment committees to the Regional Councils for regional development identify, organise and control the implementation of the State policy on the promotion of employment and training for acquiring a vocational qualification at a regional level.

At local level:

  • the municipalities participate in the development of a VET policy within their territories regarding: the employment needs for vocational guidance and training of students, unemployed and other groups; the necessary equipment of schools, vocational training providers and centres for information and guidance through funds from the municipal budget;
  • the Labour Offices of the Employment Agency provide career services: career information; advice and guidance for inclusion in the appropriate program/measure for employment and training;
  • the Cooperation Councils at the Labour Office Directorates monitor the implementation of programmes and measures included in the national action plan for employment.

According to the VET Act, sources of financing for State and municipal schools, vocational training centres for information and vocational guidance and training centres for trainers are:

  • the State budget;
  • the municipal budget;
  • donations;
  • own revenue;
  • national and international programmes;
  • other sources.

Funding mechanism for secondary VET schools is based on financial resources delegated to schools per student and varies between EUR 1 000 and 1 500 per year per student depending on the specifics of the VET programmes delivered.

The financing of vocational training offered after secondary education is provided by individuals under the terms and conditions set by the education minister. The training is financed by:

  • learners;
  • employers;
  • the State budget (active labour market policy);
  • EU programmes (mainly ESF).

Secondary VET is mostly State-financed. Private VET schools may also apply for State funding. However, only 11 out of 350 VET schools were private in 2017/18. 

Most (over 90%) adult VET providers are private. They may also receive public financing. In 2016, self-financing of training courses by learners was the most common source (53.49%) followed by employer financing (29.14%) and funding through national or European public resources (16.83%).

In VET there are:

  • general subject teachers;
  • vocational subject teachers;
  • trainers who work in vocational centres;
  • mentors for training that takes place at enterprises.

The qualification requirements are set by the relevant legislation. Strategic documents also contain provisions for teachers and trainers.

The required qualification of teachers in general studies subjects is a Master's, Bachelor's or Specialist /Professional Bachelor (national qualifications framework level 6A, European qualifications framework level 6) higher education degree acquired in:

  • a specialty of a professional field corresponding to the relevant school subject with a professional qualification in teaching;
  • a specialty of another professional field and additional professional qualification in teaching in the relevant school subject.

There is no special training provided to teachers in general studies subjects in respect of their work at vocational schools, since the mandatory general education background for a certain educational level is the same for all types of schools in the country.

Teachers in a vocational training subject must hold a Master, Bachelor or Specialist higher education degree in:

  • specialties of vocational fields corresponding to the professions on the list of professions for vocational education and training taught at the relevant school and an additional professional qualification in teaching;
  • specialties of a professional field corresponding to the professions taught at the relevant school. This is applied in cases where specialists working in companies or prominent experts in the respective field are invited to participate in vocational training at VET institutions, with the aim to provide up to date specialised knowledge and improve the link with practice and increase the attractiveness of VET.

The required qualification of trainers at vocational training centres is laid down in the State educational requirements by professions in the ‘Requirements to trainers’. A trainer is required to be a university graduate with a Master or Bachelor educational degree in a specialty corresponding to the professional field out of the list of professions for vocational education and training wherein the profession to be taught has been classified. There is no requirement for additional pedagogical qualifications for trainers at vocational training centres.

The conditions for professional development of staff within the public education system (in-service training) and also the procedures for acquiring professional qualification levels are set by Regulation No 5 (1996) [12]Ordinance No 12, active as of 1.9.2016: https://www.mon.bg/upload/2333/naredba_12_01.09.2016_prof_razvitie_uchiteli.pdf
.

There are five professional qualification levels (highest being level one) and three types of teachers positions that depend on the experience and qualifications. These are: a teacher, a senior teacher and a head teacher- . The Ordinance No 12 (2016) sets the terms and conditions for acquisition of such position, the conditions for continuing teachers' qualification on the base of credit points. Training is provided by the approved training providers which are registered in the teachers training programmes informational system of the education ministry [13]http://iropk.mon.bg/

VET teacher's profession isn’t attractive in Bulgaria.
The decrease of VET teachers aged up to 34, the fact that the profession was amongst those with high demand (12 420 vacancies), together with the steady increase of the relative share of older VET teachers (aged 60+) poses a risk of staff shortage in the next 20 years.

The 2016 Ordinance No 12 [14]https://www.mon.bg/upload/2333/naredba_12_01.09.2016_prof_razvitie_uchiteli.pdf
 regulates the statute and the professional development of the teachers, school headmasters and pedagogical staff. According to the ordinance, teachers (including VET teachers) are required to improve their competences continuously.

Teachers receive a certificate for continuing training or specialisation credit points. Sixteen training hours (academic) equals to one credit point. At least three credit points in acquired in external programmes are compulsory for each period of appraisal in addition to one credit point per year acquired in the institution they work. The credit system ensures opportunities for accumulation, recognition and transfer of credits (for the forthcoming periods, or in case of change of school, in application for higher qualification level). Teachers, headmasters and other pedagogical staff now have to create and maintain their professional portfolio.

According to the State requirements (Ordinance 162/1997), the basic training of teachers (10 hours) is designed so as to include obligatory practical training, which is carried out through doing teacher observation (60 hours), ongoing teaching practice (60 hours) and an internship (100 hours).

The ongoing teaching practice relates to participation in the organisation of the educational process under the direct supervision of a teacher at the higher education institution. The internship for people who would like to work as teachers is carried out under the supervision of a mentoring secondary education teacher and a teacher at the higher education institution.

European funds have been used for continuing vocational training of teachers.

More information is available in the Cedefop ReferNet thematic perspective on teachers and trainers [15]http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/en/publications-and-resources/country-reports/teachers-and-trainers
.

The demand for qualifications is forecasted based on the macro-economic model (for medium and long-term forecasts) and the annual employer skill needs survey (for short-term forecasts).

The labour ministry is responsible for skills forecasting for medium and long term forecasts and the Employment Agency – for short term forecasts which are based on the employer skill needs survey provided twice in the year in accordance with the Employment Promotion Act.

Medium- and long-term forecasts take into account the demographic trends and changes in the educational attainment of the labour force and in the structure of the economy.

They provide information on labour demand and supply by:

  • level of education (basic, secondary or higher); 
  • economic activity;
  • profession;
  • structural shortage/surplus of labour by education level.

Since 2018, the Employment Committees of the Regional Development Councils biannually collect, process and submit to the Employment Agency information on the employers' demand for the labour force.

See also Cedefop’s skills forecast [16]http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/en/publications-and-resources/data-visualisations/skills-forecast
and European Skills Index [17]https://skillspanorama.cedefop.europa.eu/en/indicators/european-skills-index
.

VET qualifications are classified in the list of professions by education field, vocational area, occupation and specialty.

According to the Pre-school and School Education Act [18]https://www.mon.bg/bg/57
 and the VET Act [19]https://www.navet.government.bg/bg/media/ZPOO-2018-1.pdf
, the acquisition of vocational qualifications is regulated by the State educational standards. The national agency for VET designs the standards in coordination with the relevant ministries and departments, and the education minister endorses them. The standards are by occupation (profession).

State educational standards are developed in units of learning outcomes. They include:

  • requirements for the candidates – minimum entry level qualification and education requirements for pupils and adults;
  • option for validation of professional knowledge, skills and competences;
  • opportunities for continuing vocational training;
  • description of profession – with core working activities, responsibilities, job conditions specification, used equipment and tools, special requirements etc.
  • opportunities for professional development according to the national classification of professions and occupations;
  • units of learning outcomes for general, sectoral and specific vocational training– with defined knowledge, skills and expected competences;
  • defined assessment tools for theoretical and practical skills;
  • execution of the examination conditions;
  • assessment criteria;
  • requirements for training facilities;
  • requirements for trainers.

The approach for development of State educational standard in units of learning outcomes implements the principles of the European credit system for vocational education and training (ECVET) recommendation since 2016. The standards are mandatory for VET programmes leading to nationally recognised qualifications, also for adults.

In the beginning of 2019 NAVET’s methodology guidelines for development of State educational standards were revised. In addition of core development process there were included two more options:

  • collecting information for the profession from employers' organisations by online questionnaires
  • consultation with branch employers ( before the final acceptance), according to development or updating the standards

The up-to-date State educational standards are available for free use on the websites of the education ministry and the national agency for VET [20]http://www.mon.bg and http://www.navet.government.bg
.

Each time that the State educational standards are amended, vocational training centres are obliged to update the relevant training programmes and curricula.

The curricula are based on framework programmes [21]Framework programmes include: general provisions, including the regulatory basis, the aim and purpose of the programme; requirements: entry (age, medical, previous education and qualification level), career and education pathways, form(s) of training (day full time, evening, part-time,  individual, distance, dual, self-learning); curriculum; training module content (theoretical and practical); graduation requirements (State examinations for full qualifications and final examinations for partial qualifications).
 and on the State educational standards for VET.

The education ministry develops the compulsory part of the VET curricula for new professions or forms of learning in VET schools.

VET teachers and employers support designing the curricula.

School-specific curricula part is designed by VET providers for each programme in order to reflect the specificities of the local labour market.

Curricula for VET schools comprise a training schedule, subject distribution between general and vocational parts, graduation requirements, explanatory notes, etc. to ensure the achievement of the learning outcomes.

Vocational training centres develop their own training programmes that take account also of prior learning. These programmes are evaluated (licenced) by the national agency for VET.

Since 2018, in the amended VET Act, the requirement to update modules in VET curriculum once every five years was added.

The Pre-school and School Education Act (2015, in force since August 2016) and the VET Act (2014)) establish the process of quality management, including VET. The quality management is a continuous process of organisational development based on its analysis, planning, implementation and evaluation. The evaluation is performed through self-assessment and inspection. It aims at preparing the internal evaluation of the quality of provided education through operations, procedures and criteria set by schools. It is carried out under terms and conditions determined by the State educational standard for quality management in the institutions.

The process follows these steps:

  • establishing a working group;
  • defining activities, procedures, criteria, indicators and tools;
  • contacting learners, teachers and parents;
  • performing self-assessment and analysing the results that may lead to recommendations;
  • preparing and validating the report.

The inspection is a process of preparing an overall independent expert evaluation of the education quality in schools at a given moment and guidelines for improvement. At least one inspection should be carried out in each school every five years.

All VET providers have to introduce an internal system for quality assurance to meet the requirement of the standards.

This system comprises:

  • policy and goals for quality assurance;
  • quality management responsibilities;
  • rules for the system’s implementation;
  • annual schedule for self-assessment;
  • rules and procedures for measuring the quality achieved through self-assessment.

A significant role is given to the improvement of the working environment, learning outcomes, interaction with the local community stakeholders, social partners, employers' organisations and universities, and staff training. The education ministry supports and monitors the implementation of quality assurance in VET schools and the national agency for VET in vocational training centres.

In 2014, the validation of informal and non-formal learning outcomes was introduced by the amendments to the VET Act [22]https://www.mon.bg/bg/57
.

The validation of knowledge, skills and competences acquired in non-formal and informal learning is regulated by Ordinance No 2/2014 (in force since 1.1.2015) [23]https://www.mon.bg/bg/59
, approved by the minister of education and science.

VET providers organise the validation for professions and specialties that are included in the list of professions for VET [24]https://www.mon.bg/bg/100053
.

Introducing a new approach for the development of State educational standards, based on units of learning outcomes in 2015 [25]https://www.mon.bg/bg/100305
, made the validation process more transparent.

Applicants present the evidence for the learning outcomes they possess in order to acquire a full or partial qualification allowing their access to vocational training and/or to the labour market.

The methods for assessing the learning outcomes are essentially identical to those for assessing knowledge, skills and competences applied in formal education and training.

Two types of certificates can be issued as a result of the validation:

  • a certificate validating a full qualification. By means of examination it certifies that all units of learning outcomes defined in the State educational standard have been achieved;
  • a certificate validating a part of vocational qualification (partial qualification). It certifies through an examination that one or several units of learning outcomes included in the State educational standard have been achieved.

Holders of these certificates have the same rights as those who have attained corresponding certificates through the formal education system.

Validation procedures are monitored by the regional education authorities and national agency for VET.

They also consult and guide providers methodologically.

Validation procedures can be funded by beneficiaries (individuals), companies and projects.

Validation fee for individuals cannot exceed the actual expenditure incurred by a provider.

For more information about arrangements for the validation of non-formal and informal learning please visit Cedefop’s European database [26]https://cumulus.cedefop.europa.eu/files/vetelib/2016/2016_validate_BG.pdf
.

VET is attractive because after graduation learners receive both a diploma for secondary education (giving access to higher education) and a certificate for vocational qualification.

Allowances, grants, vouchers and travel subsidy

Secondary VET learners may receive grants:

  • performance scholarships are awarded to learners with high learning achievements;
  • social allowances support access to education and prevent early leaving from VET of disadvantaged learners, e.g. with special education needs or orphans.

The grants are offered on a monthly basis and vary between 5% and 15% from the minimal national salary.

Learners in dual VET receive monthly remuneration from the companies they are trained in based on their contract. In addition, secondary VET learners can participate in ESF projects for work-based learning where they can also receive an additional grant of EUR 150.

A person (employed or unemployed) may have only one training voucher for key competences and one for VET training during the implementation of the programme:

  • at EQF level 2 – EUR 300;
  • at EQF level 3 – EUR 600;
  • at EQF level 4 – EUR 900.

All secondary VET learners are entitled to receive discounts when using public transport, including trains and in-city public transport. The discount can be up to 60% and is decided by each municipality.

According to the VET Act, provision of training is free of value added tax for companies.

Financial support for offering dual VET

Employment Promotion Act foresees financial benefits for employers for creating training places (jobs) for the unemployed. State budget pays remuneration, social security and health insurance for apprentices for up to 36 months. It also covers the costs of the training institution that provides theoretical lessons to an apprentice and mentoring costs.

According to the VET Act the system of vocational education and training includes vocational guidance, vocational education and vocational training.

The institutions, which provide vocational guidance for students are structured on regional principle for 28 regions.

The responsible institution for licensing centres for information and vocational guidance for adults is NAVET.

Up to 31.12. 2018, 48 centres for information and vocational guidance for adults were licensed.

The regional employment service directorates, which are part of the employment agency, provide vocational guidance to the unemployed individuals and for those, who wish to change their current job.

The employment service directorates provide  vocational guidance services in the form of:

  • in person vocational consultation;
  • vocational consultation in groups.

The main goals of these services are to support individuals in making the right choice in terms of entering the labour market or choosing a suitable VET programme, the level of vocational qualification – initial or continuous and the options for acquiring the desired qualification.

Please see:

Vocational education and training system chart

Tertiary

Programme Types
Not available

Post-secondary

Click on a programme type to see more info
Programme Types

EQF 5

Post-secondary VET,

up to 2 years,

WBL: min. 50%,

FP: D (Г)

 

 ISCED 453

Initial/Continuing VET programmes leading to EQF level 5, ISCED 453 (РАМКОВА ПРОГРАМА Г за професионално обучение с придобиване на четвърта степен на професионална квалификация)
EQF level
5
ISCED-P 2011 level

453

Usual entry grade

12

Usual completion grade

12+

Usual entry age

18+

Usual completion age

18+

Length of a programme (years)

2

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

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

For State owned schools

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

Not applicable

Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)
  • school-based learning (contact studies, including virtual communication with the teacher/trainer);
  • work practice (practical training at school and in-company practice);
  • apprenticeships.
Main providers
  • Schools
  • Enterprises
Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

<=70%

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

Programmes are available for people who have completed upper secondary education.

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

This type of VET is available only for people who have completed secondary education.

Assessment of learning outcomes

Learners need to pass a vocational qualification examination.

Diplomas/certificates provided

Graduates receive certificate for vocational qualification for EQF level 4 (Свидетелство за професионална квалификация - 4 СПК).

The learners may also ask to receive a Europass certificate supplement to the certificate.

The document is recognised by the labour market.

Examples of qualifications

Company manager, hotel manager, restaurant manager as well as sports and military/defence qualifications [43]As described in national context.
.

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Those who complete VET can enter the labour market.

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Y

According to Art. 40, para 1 of the VET Act, ‘Validation of professional knowledge, skills and competences is the identification and recognition of professional knowledge, skills and competences acquired through non-formal education or self-study and their compliance with the State educational requirements for acquiring qualification in professions’.

The validation procedure is carried out for professions and specialties included in the list of professions for vocational education and training under Art. 6 of the VET Act. The validation procedure starts with an application submitted by the person to the director of the institution entitled to carry out the validation. In order to prove the acquired professional knowledge, skills and competences declared for validation, the person shall submit copies of documents held by him/her together with the originals for reconciliation – workbook, service book, social security book, education diploma, attestations, references, certificates from previous professional trainings, artefacts, photos of artefacts, etc.

Validation procedure includes informing the person requesting validation about the purposes, validation procedures and their sequence, identifying the professional knowledge, skills and competences acquired by the person and recognition of a degree of professional qualification or of qualification for part of a profession.

General education subjects

Y

Key competences

Information not available

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

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

Information not available

Secondary

Click on a programme type to see more info
Programme Types

EQF 2

Mainly school-based VET,

3 years,

WBL: min. 70%,

FP: A (A)

 

ISCED 351

Initial VET programmes leading to EQF level 2, ISCED 351 (Рамкова програма А за начално професионално обучение с придобиване на първа степен на професионална квалификация)
EQF level
2
ISCED-P 2011 level

351

Usual entry grade

8

Usual completion grade

10

Usual entry age

13

Usual completion age

16

Length of a programme (years)

2

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

Y

In Bulgaria education is mandatory till the age of 16.

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

N

This framework programme is only for initial VET.

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

For State owned schools

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

Not applicable

Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)
  • daily
  • evening
  • extramural
  • distance learning
  • work based training
  • individual
  • self-learning

The most common learning form is daily form.

Main providers
  • schools
  • schools in partnership with enterprises.
Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

>=70%

Work-based learning type (workshops at schools, in-company training / apprenticeships)
  • practical training at school – when the school uses its own base for practical training
  • in-company practice - when learners go to external companies for practical training
Main target groups

Programmes are available for young people and also for adults.

This VET programme is appropriate for those learners who wish an early entry to the labour market.

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

The requirements for enrolment in VET programmes are minimum age, health condition, previous education and qualification level.

The minimum required age is :

  • 13 (in the year of application) for vocational gymnasiums and schools;
  • 16 for vocational training centres.

The health condition of the applicant is certified by a medical certificate proving the fitness for the selected occupation.

Minimum entry requirements for VET learners:

  • for current learners - grade 6;
  • for newly enrolled learners (after 2016) -basic education, secondary education, stage 1, grade 7 for learners with special educational needs.

Minimum entry requirements for individuals above the age of 16:

  • for current learners: primary education or literacy course,  grade 7 for learners with special educational needs;
  • for newly enrolled learners (after 2016): primary education or literacy course, grade 7 for learners with special educational needs.
Assessment of learning outcomes

To complete this type of VET programme learners need to pass a State qualification examination: (for theory and practice of the occupation.

The education ministry develops and approves national examination programmes for the State qualification examinations. They include guidelines for content of the exam, task assignments and assessment criteria.

Diplomas/certificates provided

Graduates receive:

  • certificate for completed first stage of secondary education (Удостоверение за завършен първи гимназиален етап на средно образование);
  • certificate for vocational qualification for EQF level 2 (Свидетелство за професионална квалификация - 1 СПК). The learners  may also ask to receive a  Europass certificate supplement to the certificate;
  • competence certificate (Свидетелство за правоспособност) – if applicable for the particular qualification.

All these documents are recognised by the education system and by the labour market.

Examples of qualifications

Welder, turner, worker in the food industry [30]As described in national context
.

These three qualifications are included in the list of specialties from professions with expected shortage of specialists on the labour market, approved by the Council of Ministers in 2018.

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

The graduates may continue their studies to the second stage of secondary education and VET qualification at EQF level 3 or 4, or can enter the labour market. However progression in either VET or general education is subject to different prerequisites, rather than completion of this VET programme.

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Y

According to Art. 40, para 1 of the VET Act, ‘Validation of professional knowledge, skills and competences is the identification and recognition of professional knowledge, skills and competences acquired through non-formal education or self-study and their compliance with the State educational requirements for acquiring qualification in professions’.

The validation procedure is carried out for professions and specialties included in the list of professions for vocational education and training under Art. 6 of the VET Act. The validation procedure starts with an application submitted by the person to the director of the institution entitled to carry out the validation. In order to prove the acquired professional knowledge, skills and competences declared for validation, the person shall submit copies of documents held by him/her together with the originals for reconciliation – workbook, service book, social security book, education diploma, attestations, references, certificates from previous professional trainings, artefacts, photos of artefacts, etc.

Validation procedure includes informing the person requesting validation about the purposes, validation procedures and their sequence, identifying the professional knowledge, skills and competences acquired by the person and recognition of a degree of professional qualification or of qualification for part of a profession.

General education subjects

Y

Key competences

Y

This type of VET programme includes modules for:

  • entrepreneurship;
  • foreign language and communication;​
  • ICT (digital competences).
Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

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

<=5% [31]2018/19. Share of learners compared to the total number of secondary VET learners.

EQF 3

Mainly school-based VET,

4 years, 

WBL: min. 60%,

FP: B (Б)

 

ISCED 351

Initial/Continuing VET programmes leading to EQF level 3, ISCED 351 (Рамкова програма Б за начално и продължаващо професионално обучение с придобиване на втора степен на професионална квалификация)
EQF level
3
ISCED-P 2011 level

351

Usual entry grade

8

Usual completion grade

11

Usual entry age

13 - Minimum age of the candidate in the year of application

Usual completion age

17

Length of a programme (years)

4

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

Y

In Bulgaria education till the age of 16 is mandatory.

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

Y

This framework programme is applicable for both IVET and CVET.

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

For State owned schools

Is it available for adults?

Y

It is available for adult learners who cover minimum entry requirements.

ECVET or other credits

Not applicable

Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)
  • daily 
  • evening
  • extramural
  • distance learning
  • work based training
  • individual
  • self-learning

The most common learning form is daily form.

  • Apprenticeship is available after the age of 16 (grades 11-12).
Main providers
  • schools;
  • schools in partnership with enterprises.
Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

>=60%

Work-based learning type (workshops at schools, in-company training / apprenticeships)
  • practical training at school – when the school uses its premises for practical training
  • in-company practice – when learners go to external companies for practical training
Main target groups

This VET programme is appropriate for learners who wish to enter the labour market holding a recognised professional qualification and also for those who wish to continue their studies at EQF level 4.

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

The requirements for enrolment in VET programmes are minimum age, health condition, previous education and qualification level.

The minimum required age is 13 (in the year of application) for vocational gymnasiums and schools.

The health condition of the applicant is certified by a medical certificate proving the fitness for the selected occupation.

There is no limitation for maximum age.

Completed basic education is also a prerequisite for this type of programme for current learners.

Assessment of learning outcomes

Vocational education finishes with State qualification examinations: for theory and practice of the occupation.

The education ministry develops and approves national examination programmes for the State qualification examinations. They include guidelines for content of the exams, task assignments and assessment criteria.

Diplomas/certificates provided

Graduates receive:

  • certificate for vocational qualification for EQF level 3 (Свидетелство за професионална квалификация - 2 СПК). The learners may also ask to receive a Europass certificate supplement to the certificate;
  • competence certificate (Свидетелство за правоспособност) – if applicable for the particular qualification.

All these documents are recognised by the education system and by the labour market.

Examples of qualifications

Waiter, cook, hair dresser [32]As described in national context.
.

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

The graduates may continue their studies at second stage of secondary education and VET qualification at EQF level 4, or can enter the labour market. However progression in either VET or general education is subject to different prerequisites, rather than completion of this VET programme.

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Y

According to Art. 40, para 1 of the VET Act, ‘Validation of professional knowledge, skills and competences is the identification and recognition of professional knowledge, skills and competences acquired through non-formal education or self-study and their compliance with the State educational requirements for acquiring qualification in professions’.

The validation procedure is carried out for professions and specialties included in the list of professions for vocational education and training under Art. 6 of the VET Act. The validation procedure starts with an application submitted by the person to the director of the institution entitled to carry out the validation. In order to prove the acquired professional knowledge, skills and competences declared for validation, the person shall submit copies of documents held by him/her together with the originals for reconciliation – workbook, service book, social security book, education diploma, attestations, references, certificates from previous professional trainings, artefacts, photos of artefacts, etc.

Validation procedure includes informing the person requesting validation about the purposes, validation procedures and their sequence, identifying the professional knowledge, skills and competences acquired by the person and recognition of a degree of professional qualification or of qualification for part of a profession.

General education subjects

Y

Key competences

Y

There are subjects for:

  • entrepreneurship;
  • foreign language and communication;​
  • ICT (digital competences).
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 3

Mainly school-based VET,

1 year,

WBL: min. 60%,

FP:B (Б)

 

ISCED 351

Initial/Continuing VET programmes leading to EQF level 3, ISCED 351 (РАМКОВА ПРОГРАМА Б за начално и продължаващо професионално обучение с придобиване на втора степен на професионална квалификация)
EQF level
3
ISCED-P 2011 level

351

Usual entry grade

11

Usual completion grade

12

Usual entry age

17

Usual completion age

17

Length of a programme (years)

1

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

Y

In Bulgaria education is mandatory till the age of 16.

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

It is part of formal education and training system.

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

Y

This framework programme is applicable for both IVET and CVET.

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

For State owned schools

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

Not applicable

Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)
  • daily
  • evening
  • extramural
  • distance learning
  • work based training
  • individual
  • self-learning

The most common learning form is daily form.

  • Apprenticeship is available after the age of 16 (grades 11-12).
Main providers
  • schools
  • schools in partnership with enterprises
  • vocational training centres
Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

>=60% - Min 60% - The share of practical training for these qualifications that require the performance of a complex set of activities (NQF/ EQF level 3) is no less than 60%.

Work-based learning type (workshops at schools, in-company training / apprenticeships)
  • practical training at school
  • in-company practice – when learners go to external companies for practical training
  • practical training at school – when the school uses its own premises for practical training
Main target groups

Programmes are available for individuals above the age 16.

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

The requirements for enrolment in VET programmes are minimum age, health condition, previous education and qualification level.

The minimum required age is 13 (in the year of application) for vocational gymnasiums and schools.

The health condition of the applicant is certified by a medical certificate proving the fitness for the selected occupation.

Previous education requirements are at least a completed grade or stage from the basic or secondary education, completed initial stage of the lower secondary education or a successfully completed literacy course under the Employment Promotion Act.

For the particular programme stage 1 of secondary education and VET qualification level 2 is a prerequisite for admission – for newly enrolled learners (after 2016).

Assessment of learning outcomes

Vocational education finishes with State qualification examination: The examination is both theoretical and practical and is relevant to the occupation.

The education ministry develops and approves national examination programmes for the State qualification examination. They include guidelines for content of the exams, task assignments and assessment criteria.

Diplomas/certificates provided

Graduates receive:

  • certificate for vocational qualification for EQF level 3 (Свидетелство за професионална квалификация - 2 СПК). The learners may also ask to receive a  Europass certificate supplement to the certificate;
  • competence certificate (Свидетелство за правоспособност) - if applicable for the particular qualification.

All these documents are recognised by the education system and by the labour market.

Examples of qualifications

Assistant trainer in sports, system programmer, tourist guide [33]As described in national context.
.

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

The graduates may continue their studies to the second stage of secondary education and VET qualification at EQF level 4, or can enter the labour market. However progression in either VET or general education is subject to different prerequisites rather than the completion of this VET programme. 

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Y

According to Art. 40, para 1 of the VET Act, ‘Validation of professional knowledge, skills and competences is the identification and recognition of professional knowledge, skills and competences acquired through non-formal education or self-study and their compliance with the State educational requirements for acquiring qualification in professions’.

The validation procedure is carried out for professions and specialties included in the list of professions for vocational education and training under Art. 6 of the VET Act. The validation procedure starts with an application submitted by the person to the director of the institution entitled to carry out the validation. In order to prove the acquired professional knowledge, skills and competences declared for validation, the person shall submit copies of documents held by him/her together with the originals for reconciliation – workbook, service book, social security book, education diploma, attestations, references, certificates from previous professional trainings, artefacts, photos of artefacts, etc.

Validation procedure includes informing the person requesting validation about the purposes, validation procedures and their sequence, identifying the professional knowledge, skills and competences acquired by the person and recognition of a degree of professional qualification or of qualification for part of a profession.

General education subjects

Y

Key competences

Y

There are modules for:

  • entrepreneurship;
  • foreign language and communication;​
  • ICT (digital competences).
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 3

Mainly school-based VET,

5 years,

WBL: min. 60%,

FP: C (B)

 

ISCED 354

Initial/Continuing VET programmes leading to EQF level 3, ISCED 354 (РАМКОВА ПРОГРАМА В за професионално образование с придобиване на втора степен на професионална квалификация)
EQF level
3
ISCED-P 2011 level

354

Usual entry grade

8

Usual completion grade

12

Usual entry age

14

Usual completion age

18

Length of a programme (years)

5

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

Y

In Bulgaria education is mandatory till the age of 16.

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

For State owned schools

Is it available for adults?

N

ECVET or other credits

Not applicable

Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)
  • school-based learning (contact studies, including virtual communication with the teacher/trainer);
  • work practice (practical training at school and in-company practice);
  • apprenticeships after the age of 16 (grades 11-12).
Main providers

Schools

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

>=60%

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

Programmes are available for young people.

Based on the type and school curriculum for students with sensory disabilities, special curricula are developed. Typical curricula for framework programmes C apply depending on the student's specific abilities to reach the learning outcomes that are included in the State Educational Standard for acquiring a qualification in the respective profession. For imprisoned learners vocational education is organised for the acquisition of the second degree of professional qualification (EQF 3) in the first and second stage of secondary education.

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

Learners must be at least 13 years old in order to apply.

Basic education is a prerequisite for admission at this VET programme.

Assessment of learning outcomes

To complete a VET programme learners need to pass a State matriculation examination in ‘Bulgarian language and literature’ and a State qualification examination.

Diplomas/certificates provided

Graduates receive:

  • diploma for secondary education (Диплома за средно образование);
  • certificate for vocational qualification for EQF level 3 (Свидетелство за професионална квалификация - 2 СПК). The learners may also ask to receive a  Europass certificate supplement to the certificate;
  • competence certificate (Свидетелство за правоспособност) - if applicable for the particular qualification.

All these documents are recognised by the education system and by the labour market.

Examples of qualifications

Electric fitter, cook, wood processing operator [34]As described in national context.
.

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

The graduates may:

  • continue their studies at tertiary education;
  • continue their VET qualification at EQF Level 5;
  • enter the labour market.
Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Y

According to Art. 40, para 1 of the VET Act, ‘Validation of professional knowledge, skills and competences is the identification and recognition of professional knowledge, skills and competences acquired through non-formal education or self-study and their compliance with the State educational requirements for acquiring qualification in professions’.

The validation procedure is carried out for professions and specialties included in the list of professions for vocational education and training under Art. 6 of the VET Act. The validation procedure starts with an application submitted by the person to the director of the institution entitled to carry out the validation. In order to prove the acquired professional knowledge, skills and competences declared for validation, the person shall submit copies of documents held by him/her together with the originals for reconciliation – workbook, service book, social security book, education diploma, attestations, references, certificates from previous professional trainings, artefacts, photos of artefacts, etc.

Validation procedure includes informing the person requesting validation about the purposes, validation procedures and their sequence, identifying the professional knowledge, skills and competences acquired by the person and recognition of a degree of professional qualification or of qualification for part of a profession.

General education subjects

Y

Key competences

Information not available

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

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

=20% [35]2018/19. Share of learners compared with the total number of secondary VET learners.

EQF 4

Mainly school-based VET,

2 years,

WBL: min. 50%,

FP: C (B)

 

ISCED 354

Initial/Continuing VET programmes leading to EQF level 4, ISCED 354 (РАМКОВА ПРОГРАМА В за професионално образование с придобиване на трета степен на професионална квалификация)
EQF level
4
ISCED-P 2011 level

354

Usual entry grade

11

Usual completion grade

12

Usual entry age

17

Usual completion age

18

Length of a programme (years)

2

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

Y

In Bulgaria education is mandatory till the age of 16.

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

For State owned schools

Is it available for adults?

N

ECVET or other credits

Not applicable

Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)
  • school-based learning (contact studies, including virtual communication with the teacher/trainer);
  • work practice (practical training at school and in-company practice);
  • apprenticeships after the age of 16 (grades 11-12)
Main providers

Schools

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

>=50%

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

Programmes are available for young people.

Based on the type and school curriculum for students with sensory disabilities, special curricula are developed. Typical curricula for framework programmes C apply depend on the learner's specific abilities to acquire the learning outcomes that are included in the State educational standard for acquiring a qualification in the respective profession. For imprisoned learners, vocational education is organised for the acquisition of the second degree of professional qualification (EQF 3) in the first and second stage of secondary education.

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

Learners must be at least 13 years old to apply.

Basic education is a prerequisite for admission to this VET programme.

For the particular VET programme completion of secondary education stage 1 and VET qualification level 2 are prerequisites for admission.

Assessment of learning outcomes

To complete this type of VET programme learners need to pass a State matriculation examination in ‘Bulgarian language and literature’ and a State qualification examination.

Diplomas/certificates provided

Graduates receive:

  • diploma for secondary education (Диплома за средно образование);
  • certificate for vocational qualification for EQF level 4 (Свидетелство за професионална квалификация - 3 СПК). The learners may also ask to receive a  Europass certificate supplement to the certificate;
  • competence certificate (Свидетелство за правоспособност) – if applicable for the particular qualification.

All these documents are recognised by the education system and by the labour market.

Examples of qualifications

Electro-technician, restaurant keeper, wood-procession technician-technologist [36]As described in national context 
.

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

The graduates may:

- continue their studies at tertiary education;

- continue their VET qualification at EQF Level 5;

- enter the labour market.

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Y

General education subjects

Y

According to Art. 40, para 1 of the VET Act, ‘Validation of professional knowledge, skills and competences is the identification and recognition of professional knowledge, skills and competences acquired through non-formal education or self-study and their compliance with the State educational requirements for acquiring qualification in professions’.

The validation procedure is carried out for professions and specialties included in the list of professions for vocational education and training under Art. 6 of the VET Act. The validation procedure starts with an application submitted by the person to the director of the institution entitled to carry out the validation. In order to prove the acquired professional knowledge, skills and competences declared for validation, the person shall submit copies of documents held by him/her together with the originals for reconciliation – workbook, service book, social security book, education diploma, attestations, references, certificates from previous professional trainings, artefacts, photos of artefacts, etc.

Validation procedure includes informing the person requesting validation about the purposes, validation procedures and their sequence, identifying the professional knowledge, skills and competences acquired by the person and recognition of a degree of professional qualification or of qualification for part of a profession.

Key competences

Information not available

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

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

Information not available

EQF 4

Mainly school-based VET,

5 years,

WBL: min. 50%,

FP: C (B)

 

ISCED 354

Initial/Continuing VET programmes leading to EQF level 4, ISCED 354 (РАМКОВА ПРОГРАМА В за професионално образование с придобиване на трета степен на професионална квалификация)
EQF level
4
ISCED-P 2011 level

354

Usual entry grade

8

Usual completion grade

12

Usual entry age

14

Usual completion age

18

Length of a programme (years)

5

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

Y

In Bulgaria education is mandatory till the age of 16.

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

For State owned schools

Is it available for adults?

N

ECVET or other credits

Not applicable

Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)
  • school-based learning (contact studies, including virtual communication with the teacher/trainer);
  • work practice (practical training at school and in-company practice);
  • apprenticeships after the age of 16 (grades 11-12)
Main providers

Schools

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

>=50%

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

Programmes are available for young people.

Based on the type and school curriculum for learners with sensory disabilities, special curricula are developed. Typical curricula for framework programmes C apply depending on the student's specific abilities to acquire the learning outcomes that are included in the State educational standard for acquiring a qualification in the respective profession. For imprisoned learners vocational education is organised for the acquisition of the third degree of professional qualification (EQF 4) in the first and second stage of secondary education.

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

Learners must be at least 13 years old (when they apply) to enrol.

For this type of VET programme the completion of basic education is a prerequisite for admission.

Assessment of learning outcomes

The secondary VET is completed with State matriculation examinations in ‘Bulgarian language and literature’ and a State qualification examination.

Diplomas/certificates provided

Graduates receive:

  • diploma for secondary education (Диплома за средно образование);
  • certificate for vocational qualification for EQF level 4 (Свидетелство за професионална квалификация - 3 СПК). The learners  may also ask to receive a  Europass certificate supplement to the certificate;
  • competence certificate (Свидетелство за правоспособност) – if applicable for the particular qualification.

All these documents are recognised by the education system and by the labour market.

Examples of qualifications

Electro-technician, restaurant keeper, wood-procession technician-technologist [37]As described in national context 
.

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

The graduates may:

  • continue their studies at tertiary education;
  • continue their VET qualification at EQF Level 5;
  • enter the labour market.
Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Y

According to Art. 40, para 1 of the VET Act, ‘Validation of professional knowledge, skills and competences is the identification and recognition of professional knowledge, skills and competences acquired through non-formal education or self-study and their compliance with the State educational requirements for acquiring qualification in professions’.

The validation procedure is carried out for professions and specialties included in the list of professions for vocational education and training under Art. 6 of the VET Act. The validation procedure starts with an application submitted by the person to the director of the institution entitled to carry out the validation. In order to prove the acquired professional knowledge, skills and competences declared for validation, the person shall submit copies of documents held by him/her together with the originals for reconciliation – workbook, service book, social security book, education diploma, attestations, references, certificates from previous professional trainings, artefacts, photos of artefacts, etc.

Validation procedure includes informing the person requesting validation about the purposes, validation procedures and their sequence, identifying the professional knowledge, skills and competences acquired by the person and recognition of a degree of professional qualification or of qualification for part of a profession.

General education subjects

Y

Key competences

Information not available

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

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

>=75% [38]2018/19. Share of learners compared to the total number of secondary VET learners.

EQF 4

Mainly school-based VET,

1 year,

WBL: min. 50%,

FP: C (B)

 

ISCED 354

Initial VET programmes leading to EQF level 4, ISCED 354 (РАМКОВА ПРОГРАМА В за професионално образование с придобиване на трета степен на професионална квалификация)
EQF level
4
ISCED-P 2011 level

354

Usual entry grade

12

Usual completion grade

12

Usual entry age

17

Usual completion age

18

Length of a programme (years)

1

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

Information not available

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

For State owned schools

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

Not applicable

Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)
  • school-based learning (contact studies, including virtual communication with the teacher/trainer);
  • work practice (practical training at school and in-company practice);
  • apprenticeships after the age of 16 (grades 11-12).
Main providers
  • schools
  • enterprises 
Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

<=70%

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

The requirements for enrolment in VET programmes are minimum age, health condition, previous education and qualification level.

The minimum required age is 13 (in the year of application) for vocational gymnasiums and schools and 16 for vocational training centres (initial and continuous VET providers for employees and unemployed, without acquisition of an education level). The health condition of the applicant is certified by a medical certificate proving the fitness for the selected occupation. Previous education requirements are at least a completed grade or stage from the basic or secondary education, completed initial stage of the lower secondary education or a successfully completed literacy course under the Employment Promotion Act.

For the particular VET programme completion of grade 11 and VET qualification level 2 or 3 are prerequisites for admission.

Assessment of learning outcomes

To complete the program learners need to pass a matriculation exam and a State qualification examination.

Diplomas/certificates provided

Graduates receive:

  • diploma for secondary education (Диплома за средно образование);
  • certificate for vocational qualification for EQF level 4 (Свидетелство за професионална квалификация - 3 СПК). The learners may also ask to receive a Europass certificate supplement to the certificate;
  • competence certificate (Свидетелство за правоспособност) - if applicable for the particular qualification.

All these documents are recognised by the education system and by the labour market.

Examples of qualifications

Builder, electro technician, electronic equipment technician, cook, waiter, assistant trainer in sports and system programmer [39]As described in national context 
.

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

The graduates may:

  • continue their studies at tertiary education;
  • continue their VET qualification at EQF Level 5;
  • enter the labour market.
Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Y

According to Art. 40, para 1 of the VET Act, ‘Validation of professional knowledge, skills and competences is the identification and recognition of professional knowledge, skills and competences acquired through non-formal education or self-study and their compliance with the State educational requirements for acquiring qualification in professions’.

The validation procedure is carried out for professions and specialties included in the list of professions for vocational education and training under Art. 6 of the VET Act. The validation procedure starts with an application submitted by the person to the director of the institution entitled to carry out the validation. In order to prove the acquired professional knowledge, skills and competences declared for validation, the person shall submit copies of documents held by him/her together with the originals for reconciliation – workbook, service book, social security book, education diploma, attestations, references, certificates from previous professional trainings, artefacts, photos of artefacts, etc.

Validation procedure includes informing the person requesting validation about the purposes, validation procedures and their sequence, identifying the professional knowledge, skills and competences acquired by the person and recognition of a degree of professional qualification or of qualification for part of a profession.

General education subjects

Y

Key competences

Information not available

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

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

Information not available

EQF 2

Mainly school-based VET,

1 year,

WBL: min. 70%,

FP: A (A)

 

ISCED 351

Initial VET programmes leading to EQF level 2, ISCED 351 (РАМКОВА ПРОГРАМА А за начално професионално обучение с придобиване на първа степен на професионална квалификация)
EQF level
2
ISCED-P 2011 level

351

Usual entry grade

11

Usual completion grade

11

Usual entry age

16

Usual completion age

17

Length of a programme (years)

1

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

N

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

For State owned schools

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

Not applicable

Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)
  • school-based learning (contact studies, including virtual communication with the teacher/trainer);
  • work practice (practical training at school and in-company practice);
  • apprenticeships after the age of 16 (grades 11-12).
Main providers
  • schools
  • enterprises 
Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

>=70%

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

The requirements for enrolment in VET programmes are minimum age, health condition, previous education and qualification level.

The minimum required age is 13 (in the year of application) for vocational gymnasiums and schools and 16 for vocational training centres (initial and continuous VET providers for employees and unemployed, without acquisition of an education level). The health condition of the applicant is certified by a medical certificate proving the fitness for the selected occupation. Previous education requirements are at least a completed grade or stage from the basic or secondary education, completed initial stage of the lower secondary education or a successfully completed literacy course under the Employment Promotion Act.

For this type of programme the completion of secondary education, stage 1 is a prerequisite for admission.

Assessment of learning outcomes

Information not available

Diplomas/certificates provided

Graduates receive:

  • certificate for vocational qualification for EQF level 2 (Свидетелство за професионална квалификация - 1 СПК). The students may also ask for receiving Europass certificate supplement to the certificate;
  • competence certificate (Свидетелство за правоспособност) – if applicable for the particular qualification.

All these documents are recognised by the education system and by the labour market.

Examples of qualifications

Builder, electro technician, electronic equipment technician, cook, waiter, assistant trainer in sports and system programmer [40]As described in national context 
.

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Those who complete VET can enter the labour market or continue their studies at EQF level 3 (VET) or in general education stage 2. However, progression in either VET or general education is subject to different prerequisites rather than the completion of this VET programme.

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Y

According to Art. 40, para 1 of the VET Act, ‘Validation of professional knowledge, skills and competences is the identification and recognition of professional knowledge, skills and competences acquired through non-formal education or self-study and their compliance with the State educational requirements for acquiring qualification in professions’.

The validation procedure is carried out for professions and specialties included in the list of professions for vocational education and training under Art. 6 of the VET Act. The validation procedure starts with an application submitted by the person to the director of the institution entitled to carry out the validation. In order to prove the acquired professional knowledge, skills and competences declared for validation, the person shall submit copies of documents held by him/her together with the originals for reconciliation – workbook, service book, social security book, education diploma, attestations, references, certificates from previous professional trainings, artefacts, photos of artefacts, etc.

Validation procedure includes informing the person requesting validation about the purposes, validation procedures and their sequence, identifying the professional knowledge, skills and competences acquired by the person and recognition of a degree of professional qualification or of qualification for part of a profession.

General education subjects

Y

Key competences

Information not available

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

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

Information not available

EQF 3

Mainly school-based VET,

1 year,

WBL: min. 60%,

FP: C (B)

 

ISCED 354

Initial/Continuing VET programmes leading to EQF level 3, ISCED 354 (РАМКОВА ПРОГРАМА В за професионално образование с придобиване на втора степен на професионална квалификация)
EQF level
3
ISCED-P 2011 level

354

Usual entry grade

11

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?

Y

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

For State owned schools

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

Not applicable

Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)
  • school-based learning (contact studies, including virtual communication with the teacher/trainer);
  • work practice (practical training at school and in-company practice);
  • apprenticeships after the age of 16 (grades 11-12).
Main providers
  • schools
  • enterprises
Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

>=60%

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

Programmes are available for young people and also for adults.

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

The requirements for enrolment in VET programmes are minimum age, health condition, previous education and qualification level.

The minimum required age is 13 (in the year of application) for vocational gymnasiums and schools and 16 for vocational training centres (initial and continuous VET providers for employees and unemployed, without acquisition of an education level). The health condition of the applicant is certified by a medical certificate proving the fitness for the selected occupation. Previous education requirements are at least a completed grade or stage from the basic or secondary education, completed initial stage of the lower secondary education or a successfully completed literacy course under the Employment Promotion Act.

For this type of VET programme completion of upper secondary stage 1 and VET qualification level 2 are prerequisites for admission.

Assessment of learning outcomes

To complete this type of VET programme learners need to pass a State matriculation examination and a State qualification examination.

Diplomas/certificates provided

Graduates receive:

  • diploma for secondary education (Диплома за средно образование);
  • certificate for vocational qualification for EQF level 3 (Свидетелство за професионална квалификация - 2 СПК). The learners may also ask to receive a Europass certificate supplement to the certificate;
  • competence certificate (Свидетелство за правоспособност) - if applicable for the particular qualification.

All these documents are recognised by the education system and by the labour market.

Examples of qualifications

Builder, electro technician, electronic equipment technician, cook, waiter, assistant trainer in sports and system programme [41]As described in national context.
.

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

The graduates may:

  • continue their studies at tertiary education;
  • continue their VET qualification at EQF Level 5;
  • enter the labour market.
Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Y

According to Art. 40, para 1 of the VET Act, ‘Validation of professional knowledge, skills and competences is the identification and recognition of professional knowledge, skills and competences acquired through non-formal education or self-study and their compliance with the State educational requirements for acquiring qualification in professions’.

The validation procedure is carried out for professions and specialties included in the list of professions for vocational education and training under Art. 6 of the VET Act. The validation procedure starts with an application submitted by the person to the director of the institution entitled to carry out the validation. In order to prove the acquired professional knowledge, skills and competences declared for validation, the person shall submit copies of documents held by him/her together with the originals for reconciliation – workbook, service book, social security book, education diploma, attestations, references, certificates from previous professional trainings, artefacts, photos of artefacts, etc.

Validation procedure includes informing the person requesting validation about the purposes, validation procedures and their sequence, identifying the professional knowledge, skills and competences acquired by the person and recognition of a degree of professional qualification or of qualification for part of a profession.

General education subjects

Y

Key competences

Information not available

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

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

Information not available

EQF 3

Mainly school-based VET,

2 years,

WBL: min. 60%,

FP: C (B)

 

ISCED 354

Initial/continuing VET programmes leading to EQF level 3, ISCED 354 (РАМКОВА ПРОГРАМА В за професионално образование с придобиване на втора степен на професионална квалификация)
EQF level
3
ISCED-P 2011 level

354

Usual entry grade

11

Usual completion grade

12

Usual entry age

16

Usual completion age

18

Length of a programme (years)

2

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

Y

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

For State owned schools

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

Not applicable

Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)
  • school-based learning (contact studies, including virtual communication with the teacher/trainer);
  • work practice (practical training at school and in-company practice);
  • apprenticeships  for ages after 16 (grades 11-12).
Main providers
  • schools
  • enterprises
Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

<=70%

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

The requirements for enrolment in VET programmes are minimum age, health condition, previous education and qualification level.

The minimum required age is 13 (in the year of application) for vocational gymnasiums and schools and 16 for vocational training centres (initial and continuous VET providers for employees and unemployed, without acquisition of an education level). The health condition of the applicant is certified by a medical certificate proving the fitness for the selected occupation. Previous education requirements are at least a completed grade or stage from the basic or secondary education, completed initial stage of the lower secondary education or a successfully completed literacy course under the Employment Promotion Act.

For this type of VET programme completion of grade 11 and VET qualification level 2 or 3 are prerequisites for admission.

Assessment of learning outcomes

To complete this type of VET programme learners need to pass a matriculation examination and a State qualification examination.

Diplomas/certificates provided

Graduates receive:

  • diploma for secondary education (Диплома за средно образование);
  • certificate for vocational qualification for EQF level 3 (Свидетелство за професионална квалификация - 2 СПК). The learners may also ask to receive a  Europass certificate supplement to the certificate;
  • competence certificate (Свидетелство за правоспособност) – if applicable for the particular qualification.

All these documents are recognised by the education system (for continuation of the education) and by the labour market.

Examples of qualifications

Builder, electro technician, electronic equipment technician, cook, waiter, assistant trainer in sports and system programmer [42]As described in national context.
.

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

The graduates may:

  • continue their studies at tertiary education;
  • continue their VET qualification at EQF Level 5;
  • enter the labour market.
Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Y

According to Art. 40, para 1 of the VET Act, ‘Validation of professional knowledge, skills and competences is the identification and recognition of professional knowledge, skills and competences acquired through non-formal education or self-study and their compliance with the State educational requirements for acquiring qualification in professions’.

The validation procedure is carried out for professions and specialties included in the list of professions for vocational education and training under Art. 6 of the VET Act. The validation procedure starts with an application submitted by the person to the director of the institution entitled to carry out the validation. In order to prove the acquired professional knowledge, skills and competences declared for validation, the person shall submit copies of documents held by him/her together with the originals for reconciliation – workbook, service book, social security book, education diploma, attestations, references, certificates from previous professional trainings, artefacts, photos of artefacts, etc.

Validation procedure includes informing the person requesting validation about the purposes, validation procedures and their sequence, identifying the professional knowledge, skills and competences acquired by the person and recognition of a degree of professional qualification or of qualification for part of a profession.

General education subjects

Y

Key competences

Information not available

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

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

Information not available

VET available to adults (formal and non-formal)

Programme Types
Not available