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General themes

VET in the Netherlands comprises the following main features:

  • the employment rate of 20- to 34-years-old VET graduates is 85.4%, above the EU average (79.5%)
  • Higher professional education is an important component of Dutch tertiary education; in 2017, almost half of all tertiary education graduates attained a tertiary VET qualification
  • The share of early leavers from education and training is well below the EU28 average and in 2017 was for the first time below the national objective for 2020.
  • the Netherlands is among the EU countries with the highest share of lifelong learning participation

Distinctive features ([1]Cedefop (2016). Spotlight on vocational education and training in the Netherlands. Luxembourg: Publications Office..
http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/files/8090_en.pdf
):

The heterogeneous and multifunctional nature of upper secondary VET in the Netherlands is unique. Key distinctive features are:

  • most publicly funded VET is provided by large multi sectoral regional training centres (ROCs) with an average student population of 12 000. Sector-specific schools and agricultural training centres also provide VET programmes. ROCs provide VET for young people and adults (IVET) and general education for adults. They are also active on the continuing VET market, with privately funded programmes. Government-regulated IVET programmes are also offered by private providers under certain conditions;
  • school-based and dual pathways in upper secondary VET lead to the same diplomas. Participation in each corresponds to the economic cycle stages: in periods of economic boom, the number of students in the dual pathway increases, while it decreases in the school-based pathway; the opposite happens during an economic recession;
  • education institutions have a relatively high degree of freedom to shape VET provision. The VET law only provides a broad framework outlining key elements at system level; institutions receive a lump sum for their tasks;
  • the Netherlands promotes a culture of evidence-informed VET policy and practice and encourages innovation. Recent initiatives include providing VET schools regularly with up-to-date regional labour market information and early school leaving data, and implementing plan-do-check-act mechanisms as a basis for organisation and programme development. To reduce the gap between research and practice in education, research and intelligence are increasingly used to improve VET quality and effectiveness, not only by involving professional researchers, but also by encouraging teachers to engage in research activities. To encourage knowledge sharing, VET teachers have opportunities to present their research projects and findings to a wide VET audience, for instance during teacher days.

The main challenges for the coming years in upper secondary VET are described and agreed in the administrative agreement (2018-22) ([2]https://www.rijksoverheid.nl/documenten/convenanten/2018/02/07/bestuursakkoord-mbo-2018-2022-trots-vertrouwen-en-lef) between upper secondary VET schools and the Education Ministry. According to this agreement, upper secondary VET schools will set goals together with their regional partners. Issues to work on are:

  • improvement of labour market outcomes of upper secondary VET and cooperation with regional partners;
  • equal opportunities in education (e.g. accessibility of upper secondary VET, transfer to a higher level in upper secondary VET or transfer to higher education);
  • young people in a vulnerable position e.g. reducing early school leaving, preparing young people in MBO ([3]MBO: upper secondary vocational education programmes.) level 1 and 2 (EQF 1 &2) for labour market.

Population in 2018: 17 181 084 ([4]NB: Data for population as of 1 January. Eurostat table tps00001 [extracted 16.5.2019].)

It increased since 2013 by 2.4% due to positive natural growth and immigration ([5]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.

The old-age dependency ratio is expected to increase from 27 in 2015 to 44 in 2060 ([6]Old-age-dependency ratio is defined as the ratio between the number of persons aged 65 and more over the number of working-age persons (15-64). The value is expressed per 100 persons of working age (15-64).)

 

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

Source: Eurostat, proj_15ndbims [extracted 16.5.2019].

 

Demographic changes have an impact on VET.

The expectation is that student numbers in VET will decrease from 2020 onward, due to population development and reduction of study duration of many of the MBO ([7]MBO: upper secondary vocational education programmes.) level 4 courses from 4 to 3 years [8]https://www.rijksoverheid.nl/documenten/rapporten/2018/09/18/referentieraming-ocw-2018.

The education ministry and the schools for upper secondary VET have agreed [9]https://www.rijksoverheid.nl/documenten/convenanten/2018/02/07/bestuursakkoord-mbo-2018-2022-trots-vertrouwen-en-lef that all VET schools should be aware of the future decline in student numbers in relation to the concentration and distribution of the range of study programmes on offer in the Netherlands.

Not applicable

Most companies in the Netherlands are micro, small and medium-sized; employing 64% ([10]https://ec.europa.eu/growth/smes/business-friendly-environment/performance-review_en) of employees. Since 2007 the number of self-employed has doubled from 625,000 to 1.2 million in 2017 ([11]https://mkbstatline.cbs.nl/#/MKB/nl/dataset/48015NED/line?dl=30B3).

 

The Dutch economy is open and relies heavily on foreign trade. The contribution of exports to GDP is close to a third ([12]https://www.cbs.nl/nl-nl/faq/specifiek/hoeveel-verdient-nederland-aan-de-export-).

Main economic sectors are (in number of people employed):

  • business services,
  • healthcare,
  • trade,
  • industry.

Compared to 1997, there has been a major shift in the employment structure. The importance of industry, but also agriculture and construction industry, has become smaller. In contrast, the service sector has grown considerably. The biggest risers are healthcare and business services. In 1997, healthcare and industry had roughly the same number of jobs. Healthcare now has almost twice as many jobs as industry ([13]https://www.cbs.nl/nl-nl/visualisaties/dashboard-arbeidsmarkt/banen-werkgelegenheid/toelichtingen/werkgelegenheidsstructuur).

A limited number of occupations/professions are regulated.

The labour market is considered flexible.

Total unemployment ([14]Percentage of active population, 25 to 74 years old.) (2018): 3.2% (6.0% in EU28); it increased by 0.5 percentage points since 2008 ([15]Source: Eurostat, une_rt_a [extracted 20.5.2019].).

 

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

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

 

Unemployment is distributed unevenly between those with low- and high-level qualifications. The gap has increased during the crisis as unskilled workers are more vulnerable to unemployment. In 2018, unemployment rates have decreased for all educational attainment levels, reaching unemployment rates comparable with those of 2009 and 2010. Youth (<25) unemployment is 7.2% in 2018 and is below the EU average, which stood at over 15.2% in 2018.

Employment rate of 20 to 34-year-old VET graduates increased from 83.5% in 2014 to 88.1% in 2018 ([16]Eurostat table edat_lfse_24).

 

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

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

 

The increase (+4.6 pp) in employment of 20-34 year-old VET graduates in 2014-18 was lower compared to the increase from 81.7% to 86.8% in employment of all 20-34 year-old graduates (+5.1 pp) in the same period in the Netherlands ([17]NB: breaks in time series. Eurostat table edat_lfse_24 [extracted 16.5.2019].).

For more information about the external drivers influencing VET developments in the Netherlands please see the case study from Cedefop's changing nature and role of VET in Europe project [17a]Cedefop (2018). The changing nature and role of vocational education and training in Europe. Volume 3: the responsiveness of European VET systems to external change (1995-2015). Case study focusing in The Netherlands. Cedefop research paper; No 67. https://www.cedefop.europa.eu/files/the_netherlands_cedefop_changing_nature_of_vet_-_case_study.pdf

 

 

In 2018, the share of the population aged up to 64 with higher education (37.7%) was higher in the Netherlands than the EU average. The share of those with low or without a qualification was 20.6% (slightly lower than the EU average).

In 2018, tertiary attainment among 30-34 year olds was 49% and well above the EU and national targets (both 40%) set for 2020. Female higher education attainment has risen faster than male tertiary attainment.

 

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].

 

For more information about VET in higher education in the Netherlands please see the case study from Cedefop's changing nature and role of VET in Europe project [17b]Cedefop (2019). The changing nature and role of vocational education and training in Europe. Volume 6: vocationally oriented education and training at higher education level. Expansion and diversification in European countries. Case study focusing on The Netherlands. Cedefop research paper; No 70. https://www.cedefop.europa.eu/files/the_netherlands_cedefop_changing_nature_of_vet_-_case_study_0.pdf

Share of learners in VET by level in 2017

lower secondary

upper secondary

post-secondary

5.9%

68.2%

not applicable

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].

 

At upper secondary level, in 2017/18, most VET graduates completed a level 4 programme leading to EQF4. At this level, economics ([18]The area economics in upper secondary VET includes programmes in administration, logistics, retail, secretarial support, tourism, ICT, facility management and public order and security.) and care/welfare programmes are the most popular choices.

 

Upper secondary VET graduates by level and area of study, 2017/2018

NB: Provisional data.
Source: CBS Statline. https://opendata.cbs.nl/statline/#/CBS/nl/dataset/83896NED/table?dl=F448
[extracted 17.6.2019].

 

Higher professional education (HBO) is an important component of Dutch higher education. In 2017, almost half of all higher education graduates attained a bachelor degree in higher professional education ([19]CBS (2018). Statline database
https://opendata.cbs.nl/statline/#/CBS/nl/dataset/83893NED/table?dl=DA1F [extracted 27.5.2019].
). Most higher professional education graduates studied economics, teacher training, social work or engineering.

There are more males (52%) in upper secondary VET than females. Males prefer technology education and economics, while females often enrol in health/welfare or economics.

 

Male/ female students per sector in upper secondary VET ([20]CBS (2019). Statline database
https://opendata.cbs.nl/statline/#/CBS/nl/dataset/83851NED/table?dl=1F876 [extracted 27.5.2019].
)

 

 

The share of early leavers from education and training has decreased from 10.9% in 2009 to 7.3% in 2018. It is well below 10.6%, the EU28 average. For the second year in a row is below 8.0%, the national objective for 2020.

 

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].

 

The dropout-rate in upper secondary VET in 2017/2018 is 5.5% ([21]https://opendata.cbs.nl/statline/#/CBS/nl/dataset/71292ned/table?ts=1549610111391). The number of dropouts in upper secondary VET has increased from 18 574 in school year 2016-17 to 19 980 in the school year 2017-18 ([22]Letter to Parliament, 22 February 2019:
https://www.rijksoverheid.nl/documenten/kamerstukken/2019/02/22/kamerbrief-blijvende-aandacht-voor-voortijdig-schoolverlaten-nodig
).

 

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].

 

Eurostat data show that the Netherlands is among the EU countries with the highest lifelong learning rates (EU28 average 11.1 in 2018). Already since 2000, more than 15% of adult population (25-64) has been involved in education or training (participation was 19.1% in 2018). The country has met the Education and Training 2020 (ET2020) 15% benchmark since long.

However, training participation is significantly below average among workers over 55 (11.8% in 2017), the low-skilled (9.5% in 2017), workers with a temporary contract, migrants and people with a migrant background from non-western countries, and people not having participated in training in the past ([23]CBS (2018). Statline database:
https://opendata.cbs.nl/statline/#/CBS/nl/dataset/83916NED/table?dl=81B4 [extracted 31.7.2018].
). The gap in training participation between highly educated people and those with low skills has widened between 2004 and 2017 ([24]http://roa.sbe.maastrichtuniversity.nl/roanew/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/ROA_R_2018_4-1.pdf).

 

VET learners by age and track 2018

NB: School-based (BOL) and dual track (BBL). Numbers in thousands.
Source: DUO 2018.

 

Participants in the school-based track are mainly youngsters, while most learners (46%) of those following the dual track are 23 or over; this is because this track is also used by companies to upgrade their employees ([25]Source: DUO 2018:
https://www.onderwijsincijfers.nl/kengetallen/mbo/studenten-mbo/aantallen-studenten-mbo [accessed 9.5.2019].
).

The education and training system comprises:

  • preschool education (ISCED level 0); to combat educational disadvantages at an early stage, preschool education is available for toddlers (2.5 to 4 years old) ([26]Source:
    https://www.rijksoverheid.nl/onderwerpen/voorschoolse-en-vroegschoolse-educatie/voorschoolse-educatie [accessed 9.5.2019].
    );
  • primary education at ISCED level 1 is for four- to 12-years-old learners;
  • general secondary education integrates lower and upper secondary general education programmes (ISCED level 2 & 3);
  • lower secondary pre-vocational school-based programmes (ISCED 2);
  • upper secondary vocational education programmes (ISCED 2 & 3);
  • post-secondary education (ISCED level 4); 
  • higher (or tertiary) education has a professional education and a general (academic) strand (ISCED levels 5 - 8).

Pre-school education is not compulsory and intended for two-and-a-half to four-year-old learners at risk of educational disadvantage. It is generally provided at childcare institutions.

Primary education starts at the age of four; it includes eight years of basic education until the learner reaches age 12.

Education is compulsory for learners from age five to 16. 16 and 17 year-olds without a general or basic vocational qualification at upper secondary level are required to continue learning, the so-called ‘qualification duty’ (kwalificatieplicht). This arrangement was introduced in 2008 to reduce early leaving from education and training.

General secondary education includes:

  • integrated lower and upper secondary programmes (pre-university education) lasting six years and leading to EQF4 (ISCED 244 after three years; ISCED 344 after six). It prepares learners for higher education at research universities and higher professional education at universities of applied sciences (age: 12-18, also accessible to adults;
  • integrated lower and upper secondary general education programmes lasting five years and leading to EQF4 (ISCED 244 after three years; ISCED 344 after five). They lead to higher professional education. Upon completion, transfer to the fifth year of pre-university education is possible (age: 12-17, also accessible to adults;
  • two general programmes (the theoretical and mixed pathway) within lower secondary pre-vocational education (VMBO) ([27]See relevant section for further details (#1 VET BOX - Lower secondary pre-vocational school-based programmes).).

Scientific/university education offers bachelor programmes lasting three to four years (ISCED 6) and one to two year Master’s degree programmes (ISCED 7) to adult learners. After completing a master degree programme, learners can continue in PhD programmes (ISCED 8).

The main legislation for initial VET (IVET) is:

  • the Secondary Education Act (for lower secondary general and pre-vocational);
  • the Adult Education and Vocational Education Act (for upper secondary vocational education)
  • the Higher Education and Scientific Research Act (for higher professional education).

The vocational track of the education system starts in lower secondary pre-vocational education with transfer possibilities to upper secondary vocational education. Upper secondary vocational education is the backbone of this track providing labour market access. Graduates at EQF level 4 can continue their studies in higher professional education.

There is no institutional framework for continuing vocational education and training (CVET). Provision is market-driven with many suppliers. CVET comprises a range of vocational or more general courses for jobseekers, the unemployed, employees, self-employed people, and employers. There are three types of CVET:

  • upper secondary IVET programmes which also function as CVET;
  • training for unemployed and jobseekers, financed by the public employment service;
  • private, non-government-funded training for employees, self-employed people and employers.

The backbone of the VET system is upper secondary VET, which serves both as IVET and as CVET. IVET/CVET programmes are offered either as a school based or a dual track. The school based track comprises 20 to 60% workplace learning, while the dual track comprises 60 to 80% workplace learning.

The responsibility for curriculum development and assessment is in the hands of upper secondary VET schools. Various curricula and learning environments exist even for programmes related to the same profession. Apart from internships taking place in a company, teacher teams have freedom to develop curricula and may include e.g. lectures, project based learning, practical simulations, in school mini-enterprises, hybrid learning environments.

Upper secondary VET offers two equivalent pathways: a school-based (BOL) and a dual (BBL) leading to the same diplomas. In the dual pathway (apprenticeship), students combine work-based learning (at least 60% of study time) with school-based instruction; this often involves learning at work four days a week and one day at school. To enrol in the dual track a contract (an employment contract in most cases) with a firm is mandatory.

The target group of the dual pathway are young people (16 year old), but also older people. Most students in the dual pathway are older than students in the school based pathway. 46% of those following the dual track are 23 years old or over; this is because this track is also used by companies to upgrade their employees ([28]Source: DUO 2018:
https://www.onderwijsincijfers.nl/kengetallen/mbo/studenten-mbo/aantallen-studenten-mbo [extracted 9.5.2019].
).

 

Number of student in dual track (BBL) by age

Source: DUO 2018 ([29]https://www.onderwijsincijfers.nl/kengetallen/mbo/studenten-mbo/aantallen-studenten-mbo [extracted 20.6.2019].).

 

One of the principles underlying the education system in the Netherlands is freedom of education. This means there is freedom to establish schools, freedom to organise teaching and to determine the principles on which education is based (freedom of conviction).

Freedom to organise teaching means that both public and private schools are free to determine – within legal boundaries – what is taught and how. The education ministry sets quality standards such as the subjects to be studied, the number of teaching days/hours per year and the required teacher qualifications; they apply to both public and government-funded private education.

There are three organisational levels in the Dutch VET system: the national level, the sectoral level (especially in upper secondary VET) and the regional/local (or school) level.

In the institutional VET framework, the Cooperation Organisation for Vocational Education, Training and the Labour Market (Samenwerkingsorganisatie Beroepsonderwijs Bedrijfsleven – SBB) has a key role. SBB optimises the links between VET and the labour market to deliver well-qualified professionals. The organisation is responsible for maintaining the qualifications for upper secondary VET, for accrediting and coaching companies offering work placements, and collecting suitable labour market information. Representatives from vocational education and social partners work together on the VET qualifications system, examinations, work placements, the efficiency of programmes and more. SBB also works on themes with a cross-regional and cross-sector focus.

 

Organisational levels and functions/roles in initial VET

VMBO: lower secondary pre-vocational school-based programmes.
MBO: upper secondary vocational education programmes.
HBO: higher professional education.
NVAO: Dutch-Flemish Accreditation Organisation (Nederlands-Vlaamse Accreditatie Organisatie).
NRTO: Dutch Council for Training promoting interests of private, non-subsidised VET providers that have been legally recognised by the education ministry to offer regulated VET courses at upper secondary and tertiary level.

 

The adult and vocational education act regulates the governance of upper secondary VET schools and grants them ample space for policy making. Schools have full control over deployment and continuing professional development of teaching staff, programme offer, regional industry-specific training portfolios, organisation of learning, and choice of cooperation partners. School management is also responsible for deciding how to allocate the annual lump sum grant from the ministry to personnel costs, materials, housing and reservations for future investments. Yearly auditing reports provide insight into how the grant is spent.

Governance has an internal, vertical and a horizontal dimension. The internal dimension refers to the organisation of internal management and control; the vertical dimension stands for the accountability relations between schools and the government; the horizontal dimension captures the (accountability) relations between a school and its local stakeholders.

Total expenditure on education by the government, households, enterprises and non-profit organisations made up 6.0% of GDP in 2016. Government expenditure on education is 5.4% of GDP in 2016 ([30]CBS (2018). Statline database:
https://opendata.cbs.nl/statline/#/CBS/nl/dataset/80393ned/table?dl=102B2 [accessed 21.8.2018].
).

In 2018 expenditure by the Education Ministry is EUR 8 200 per learner per year in upper secondary VET ([31]OCW (2018).
https://www.onderwijsincijfers.nl/kengetallen/onderwijs-algemeen/uitgaven/uitgaven-ocw [accessed 23.5.2019].
).

In 2017 government expenditure represented 66% of all spending on upper secondary VET. Companies and households pay the rest (34%) ([32]OCW (2018):
https://www.onderwijsincijfers.nl/kengetallen/onderwijs-algemeen/uitgaven/uitgaven-ocw [accessed 17.6.2019].
).

Total government expenditure on VET is 0.8% of GDP, when households and enterprises are included total spending is 1.0% of GDP. These percentages are stable since 2010 ([33]CBS (2018). Statline database:
https://opendata.cbs.nl/statline/#/CBS/nl/dataset/80393ned/table?dl=102B2 [accessed 21.8.2018].
).

 

Total expenditure on upper secondary VET (in billion EUR) (2000-2017)

 

 

The funding arrangements for VET are as follows:

  • in prevocational education and training (VMBO) the funding principle is block grant funding. It gives schools considerable freedom in deciding how to spend available resources. They receive a fixed amount per student plus a fixed amount per school. Part of funding rewards good performance based on national targets agreed on sector level with governing bodies. There are also extra financial incentives for students at risk;
  • in upper secondary VET (MBO) the principle is block grant funding based in part on the number of students per course/learning track and in part on number of certificates awarded per institution. In addition to block grant funding, performance based funding was introduced in 2014 ([34]https://wetten.overheid.nl/BWBR0035923/2016-07-20) to reward individual schools for their good performances. This introduction was part of the quality agreements concluded between all VET colleges and the education ministry. These bilateral agreements aim to facilitate a rapid and comprehensive implementation and to encourage colleges to increase their performance in terms of equal access, qualify vulnerable youth and greater responsiveness to labour market developments ([35]https://www.kwaliteitsafsprakenmbo.nl/documenten/publicatie/2018/06/15/regeling-kwaliteitsafspraken-2019-2022). VET colleges have other funding sources as well, for instance from contracted activities for companies and individuals, from municipalities for providing civic integration training courses for adults, and from student fees. Additionally there is a subsidy scheme for companies to cover their costs when offering learning places in dual tracks (BBL);
  • in higher professional education (HBO) funding is partly fixed and partly based on number of enrolled participants and output/outcome results (number of diplomas). Part of funding is performance based and rewards achievements towards targets set by providers themselves. Contracted activities paid by enterprises and or individuals/employees and income from tuition fees paid by students are other sources of funding. Companies benefit from subsidies when offering learning places in dual higher VET.

The Ministry of Education administers almost all central government expenditure on education through a specialised agency (DUO - Dienst Uitvoering Onderwijs). DUO plays a key role in administration and financing state-regulated VET. There is a complex but direct financing relationship between DUO and schools for upper secondary vocational education. Funds are channelled either directly to schools or indirectly through municipalities. Municipalities fund special projects (e.g. to reduce early leaving from education and training).

In VET, there are:

  • teachers
  • teaching assisting jobs, i.e. teacher assistant, instructor;
  • in-company trainers (supervisors or tutors).

In upper secondary vocational education teachers cooperate in teams in which tasks are divided among team members, e.g. assessment, study- and career guidance, expert teacher, educational designer. The extent to which these roles are implemented differs per school. There are no fixed roles within teams, besides the role of teacher leader ([36]OECD (2016). TALIS Initial teacher preparation study: country background report: The Netherlands.https://www.rijksoverheid.nl/documenten/rapporten/2016/12/21/oecd-talis-initial-teacher-preparation-study-country-background-report-the-netherlands).

The education professions act (Wet BIO, 2016) regulates competence standards for teachers and other educational staff in primary, general secondary, vocational secondary and general adult education. It requires schools to maintain a competence document for all teachers.

Teachers in upper secondary vocational education have to have either a first degree teaching license (Master), a second degree teaching license (Bachelor) or a teaching certificate (a higher education diploma is obligatory to obtain a teaching certificate).

In 2012 the education ministry, aiming to better train and raise the number of VET teachers, introduced:

  • a distinct graduation track dedicated to VET in higher professional education (in place since 2016);
  • quality criteria entering the teaching profession from another background.

Recently, requirements are introduced for instructors (teaching personnel responsible for the vocational skills training of learners). Instructors should also meet professional, didactic and pedagogical standards ([37]https://www.rijksoverheid.nl/documenten/besluiten/2018/04/09/besluit-bekwaamheidseisen-onderwijspersoneel).

Trainers responsible for in-company learning of upper secondary VET students (both in apprenticeship and in school based track) must be qualified at least at the same level for which he/she is supervising work-based learning. Furthermore, trainers must be able to share their expertise with students and are required to have pedagogical skills (validated by diplomas/certificates). The quality of the trainers is one of the criteria for accreditation of companies providing work-based learning. Accreditation is one of the legal tasks of the Cooperation Organisation for Vocational Education, Training and the Labour Market (SBB). Training for trainers is offered by private providers.

VET institutions have relative freedom in their approach of professional development of teaching staff. Teachers are entitled to 59 hours of training and professional development annually, complemented by additional training depending on the discipline of their expertise ([38]In VET institutions teachers of different disciplines are working in teams responsible for delivering educational programmes to one or more subgroups of students). Teachers are also receiving a personal budget for professional development of 0.8% of their annual salary. The 2013 national technology pact foresaw increased funding for teacher training focused on technology. Moreover, enterprises are offering short internships for VET teachers and trainers. VET teacher CPD is also promoted through regional partnerships between VET institutes and teacher training institutes. In addition, VET teachers have access to funding to help them acquire a Master qualification that corresponded to the subject they were teaching ([39]Cedefop (forthcoming). Developments in vocational education and training policy in 2015-19: the Netherlands. Cedefop monitoring and analysis of VET policies.).

More information is available in the Cedefop ReferNet thematic perspective on teachers and trainers ([40]http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/en/publications-and-resources/country-reports/teachers-and-trainers).

The set-up and governance of skill anticipation in the Netherlands can serve as an exemplar case. The Research Centre for Education and the Labour Market (ROA - Researchcentrum voor Onderwijs en Arbeidsmarkt) ([41]http://roa.sbe.maastrichtuniversity.nl/?portfolio=poa-project-onderwijs-arbeidsmarkt-2) is the institute in the Netherlands that specialises in labour market forecasting and skills anticipation. Its labour market forecasts aim to increase transparency and improve the match between education and the labour market. The work is financed and co-steered by key national education and labour market stakeholders.

Two approaches to skills anticipation can be distinguished: top-down and bottom-up. In the top-down approach, a general forecasting model covering the whole labour market uses national data sources to generate information relevant for policy makers and for guidance purposes. ROA publishes a report every second year, which includes an overview of education and labour market trends as well as analyses of expected labour market developments in the light of particular policy issues.

In the bottom-up approach, partial labour market forecast models are used, for example for a single sector or occupation or for a selection of them, with input from specific (ad hoc) data sources. This can be complementary to the top-down approach.

The national social security agency (UWV - Uitvoeringsinstituut Werknemersverzekeringen) is involved in cooperation with ROA and SBB ([42]Cooperation Organisation for Vocational Education, Training and the Labour Market (Samenwerkingsorganisatie Beroepsonderwijs Bedrijfsleven - SBB).) to match information on demand and supply in the labour market, at sectoral and regional level.

The generated labour market information caters to the needs of:

  • youth and jobseekers, as they are able to base their education choices on the mid-term labour market perspectives of different education tracks;
  • different groups of policy makers, as they are able to make informed decisions on whether to open new education tracks or amend existing ones;
  • companies and their sector organisations, as it gives them a chance to act on expected skills shortages in the near future.
  • public and private employment services, as they use the information to shape training policies for their beneficiaries.

SBB is responsible for labour market research focused on further developing the structure of qualifications in upper secondary VET. The nine sector chambers within SBB take on this task. Educational institutions are responsible for attuning their VET provision regionally. Regional training centres sometimes carry out their own market research to gain insight into expected labour market needs for qualified employees at regional level.

Private commercial training providers have their own marketing strategies (including market research), so they can offer courses that are relevant to potential target groups and labour market needs.

See also Cedefop’s skills forecast ([43]http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/en/publications-and-resources/data-visualisations/skills-forecast) and European Skills Index ([44]https://skillspanorama.cedefop.europa.eu/en/indicators/european-skills-index)

The qualification design process differs between parts of the VET system:

  • in lower secondary pre-vocational education: examination syllabi are laid down in a framework by the education ministry and developed by the Foundation for Curriculum Development in the Netherlands (Nationaal expertisecentrum leerplanontwikkeling – SLO);
  • in upper secondary VET: the national qualification system (nationally referred to as ‘qualifications structure’) defines the desired output of qualifications. There are three steps:
    • social partners develop and determine/validate vocational/occupational standards. This process takes place in committees at sub-sectoral level referred to as ‘market segments’ in the national context;
    • social partner and VET representatives develop qualification profiles (educational standards as output), which are adopted by the education ministry. This is done within SBB ([45]Cooperation Organisation for Vocational Education, Training and the Labour Market (Samenwerkingsorganisatie Beroepsonderwijs Bedrijfsleven - SBB).);
    • VET colleges develop curricula in cooperation with training firms based on qualification profiles;
  • in higher professional education (HBO) qualifications and programmes are developed by schools and accredited by the Dutch-Flemish Accreditation Organisation. A curriculum is part of the accreditation request. The education ministry decides whether an accredited programme is to be publicly funded or not.

Qualification and curriculum development in upper secondary VET

The qualifications system for upper secondary VET comprises competence-based qualifications and contains occupational standards covering one qualification profile or several interrelated ones. They describe desirable learning outputs of VET programmes related to a specific vocation or group of occupations, to citizenship and further learning.

Since 2016 qualifications have been clustered for better transparency and functionality. Definitions of qualifications are broadened, with a general part (language-, numeracy-, citizenship- and career management skills), a basic vocational part applicable for all occupations in the qualification, several profile modules (specific for the profile within the qualification) and optional modules. Currently the qualification framework includes 179 qualifications, 491 profiles (specialisations within a qualification) and almost 1000 optional modules ([46]www.sbb.nl). Broader definitions of qualifications and optional modules are expected to give VET colleges more leeway to adapt curricula to labour market needs. Companies and educational institutions jointly develop optional modules to quickly respond to innovations or emerging needs within their region. Regions will be also afforded some leeway to draft optional modules themselves to be able to respond to regional needs and/or to help learners progress through the education and training system.

The nine sector chambers within SBB are the link among sectoral education, labour market stakeholders and the executive branch of SBB; they also contribute in shaping general qualification policies, are responsible for keeping the qualification system up-to-date, promote the quality of learning in enterprises, and interpret and validate information on VET and the labour market.

Schools are primarily responsible for curricula and their modernisation. Authority with regard to learning arrangements is assigned to them by the constitution. This does not mean, however, national government remains completely aloof. It can stimulate developments and innovations that have consequences for the modernisation of curricula.

A national quality assurance approach and a methodology for internal and external evaluation are in place. So far upper secondary IVET and higher VET (HBO) have quality assurance systems, the first based on supervision and inspection, the latter based on self-evaluation, review and accreditation. A common quality assurance framework for VET providers is in place and applies also to workplace learning. For recognised CVET courses (in the official registry) offered by private providers the same rules apply as in IVET.

Quality assurance in upper secondary VET

The education ministry through the education inspectorate and VET providers themselves are responsible for quality assurance in upper secondary VET. The VET law mandates VET providers to set up a quality assurance system. They are relatively free to design and set up their systems, but have to ensure regular quality assessments that include the arrangements in place for teacher training. Upper secondary VET institutions’ annual reports are the basis for external quality evaluation by the education inspectorate.

Internal monitoring and control: upper secondary VET colleges have small executive boards and internal supervisory boards. Middle management is accountable to the executive board. Participation of students, teachers and parents in decision making is regulated in the act on work councils.

Vertical monitoring and control: the education Inspectorate is in charge of the external supervision, checking whether statutory provisions are met and quality assurance is in place. The assessment framework covers five quality areas: (i) educational process; (ii) school climate; (iii) learning outcomes; (iv) quality assurance and ambition; and (v) financial management. Supervision is proportional in nature, meaning it is stricter where deficiencies are found, and the inspectorate follows up by monitoring whether required improvements have been put in place.

In 2017, the Inspection Framework for external supervision was renewed. One of the most important changes is to make a distinction between statutory requirements and quality factors defined by the schools themselves. Self-defined quality factors pertain to the objectives and ambitions set by the school itself above and beyond the basic quality level. In its reports, the Inspectorate will draw a clear distinction between judgements related to statutory requirements and the assessment of performances on the self-defined quality indicators above and beyond those enshrined in law.

Horizontal dialogue: Using self-chosen tools, the executive board of a VET college is expected to develop and sustain good relations with important local/regional stakeholders: employers, local governments and regional organisations.

Guidelines and standards promote a culture of continuous improvement. Stakeholders (including the inspectorate, VET providers, students/learners and teachers/trainers and VET expertise centres) have contributed to its development. Stakeholders take part in setting VET goals and objectives and their involvement in monitoring and evaluation has been agreed. An advisory committee consisting of all important VET stakeholders meets several times a year to discuss further developments. All EQAVET indicators are used ([47]http://www.eqavet.nl/_images/user/Eqavet_Leaflet_NL.p_20131030151118.pdf).

Quality, responsiveness and innovation capacity in upper secondary VET have been core policy priorities in the past few years. Extra (partly performance-based) funding is introduced to increase quality. The responsible minister has concluded quality agreements with all VET institutions, which makes them responsible and accountable for their performance. The quality agreements are the basis for quality plans for 2015-2018 and again for 2019-2022 drafted by VET providers themselves. VET colleges should elaborate strategic plans to improve the quality of VET in line with regional needs and in close collaboration with regional stakeholders, young people in a vulnerable position and equal opportunities for all students.

Validation of prior, non-formal and informal learning is an instrument that has been promoted in the Netherlands for the last fifteen years. A comprehensive validation system that encompasses all education levels and sectors is in place.

In line with discussions and proposals made in the last few years, from 2016 onwards there are two formal validation procedures:

  • Validation for the labour market: Recognition/ documentation of prior learning – a formal procedure for the employed and jobseekers that leads to the award of a validated skills portfolio (certificate). Validation is possible for sectoral, formal VET and HE qualifications. This type of validation is most used. The certificate offers no legal right for exemptions for learning or exams in formal VET of Higher professional education. For this procedure the National Knowledge Centre Validation of Prior Learning ([48]http://www.nationaal-kenniscentrum-evc.nl/) is the implementing organisation for quality assurance of these certificates.
  • Validation for education: Accreditation/ certification of prior learning (APL) – a formal procedure in which a candidate can get his/her learning outcomes assessed against a national qualification standard to obtain a formal qualification in VET or HE. Validation supports access to education and training at all levels. Although both VET and HE qualifications can in theory be obtained through validation, in practice this depends on demand and is currently most common in upper secondary VET.Validation in the educational route is supervised by the education inspectorate or NVAO ([49]Dutch-Flemish Accreditation Organisation (Nederlands-Vlaamse Accreditatie Organisatie).).

Individuals themselves or their employers have to pay for validation. Financial support is often provided by sectoral training funds (for employers), tax benefits (for individuals), or for people with occupational disability benefits – by the national social security agency (UWV).

For more information about arrangements for the validation of non-formal and informal learning please visit Cedefop’s European database ([50]http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/en/publications-and-resources/data-visualisations/european-database-on-validation-of-non-formal-and-informal-learning).

Student finance act

The student finance act of 2000 aims to cover the education costs of students over 18 in full-time education. The finance system for upper secondary VET students comprises 4 financing components: a basic grant, a supplementary grant (depending on the level of parental income), a free/discounted public transportation card and a loan. Learners do not have to refund the basic grant, the supplementary grant and their public transportation fees when they graduate within 10 years. Students in VET courses at level 1 and 2 are exempt from paying back the grants, as well as the loans.

From September 2015,the finance system for students in higher education has been changed. The most important change is the abolition of the basic grant. As a consequence the share of the loan has increased. By way of compensation, the repayment period is increased from 15 to 35 years. Furthermore, students do not have to refund the supplementary grant and public transportation fees when they graduate within 10 years.

Right of enrolment in VET

New legislation to ‘ensure the right of enrolment in VET for all’ was adopted in 2016 and came into effect on 1 August 2017. The main reason for the introduction of this legislation is to tackle problems in the transition from lower secondary education to upper secondary VET, as one third of the early school leavers drops out during the transition period for the following reasons: they regret their study choice or as a result of unclear, or confusing intake procedures in upper secondary VET colleges. The aim of this Act is to smoothen the transition from lower secondary to upper secondary VET. This has to be achieved by better (study) guidance facilities before and during the transition phase, by bringing forward the registration date (the first of April) for students leaving lower secondary education for upper secondary VET and by strengthening the position of students in the VET college intake procedures.

Until 2014, tax deduction measures for employers encouraged them to offer training placements for students in VET. This tax facility has been replaced by a subsidy-system. This subsidy is meant to cover costs of learning places for students in the pre-vocational education, upper secondary VET, higher professional education and PhD students.

CVET is partly influenced by sectoral collective labour agreements. It can be financed through sectoral funds for training and/or research and development; There are about 85 of these funds, which are foundations governed by social partners. Most funds are financed by a payroll levy. Employers pay this levy to the training fund for their sector and can benefit from reimbursements for the cost of training their employees. Some funds limit their activities to the distribution of financial resources while others pursue active labour market policy. To stimulate participation in education and training, the funds use a variety of measures to cover the costs of training, training leave or examinations.

Since 2011, career orientation and guidance (LOB) in VET was promoted through the project Stimuleringsproject LOB in het MBO. In this project, VET-schools cooperated in the development and implementation of career orientation and guidance systems. Since July 2017, a national expertise centre for career orientation and guidance ([51]https://www.expertisepuntlob.nl/) is operational. It operates cross-sectoral and supports pre-vocational education (VMBO), general secondary education (HAVO-VWO) and upper secondary VET (MBO) in improving the career orientation and guidance of pupils and students.

Labour market information caters to the needs of learners from pre-vocational education (VMBO) and upper secondary VET (MBO) and jobseekers. This information should help them to make a considered choice for an education program; based on the labour market perspectives of the different options. For students looking for work-based placements in both VET tracks (school-based and dual) in an 'accredited work placement company', SBB ([52]Cooperation Organisation for Vocational Education, Training and the Labour Market (Samenwerkingsorganisatie Beroepsonderwijs Bedrijfsleven - SBB)) provides information via a portal ([53]https://www.stagemarkt.nl/Zoeken). SBB also provides information on mid-term job prospects for all upper secondary VET programmes and supports pre-vocational and VET schools to inform learners about job prospects ([54]https://www.s-bb.nl/onderwijs/studie-cijfers).

Please also see:

Vocational education and training system chart

Tertiary

Click on a programme type to see more info
Programme Types

EQF 5

Associate degree,

2 years

ISCED 554

Associate degree (AD) programmes (short-cycle higher education programmes) leading to EQF level 5, ISCED 554
EQF level
5
ISCED-P 2011 level

554

Usual entry grade

14+

Usual completion grade

15+

Usual entry age

18 for upper secondary general education

20+ for upper secondary VET graduates

Usual completion age

19+

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?

N

A tuition fee is compulsory. For 2018/19 this fee is EUR 2 060.

For students starting for the first time in higher professional education tuition fees are reduced by half.

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

120 ECTS ([68]European credit transfer and accumulation system.) points

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

Information not available

Main providers

Universities of applied sciences (hogescholen) providing these programmes are publicly financed providers. Non-subsidised, private providers can offer similar programmes if they have appropriate accreditation.

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

The responsibility for curriculum development and assessment is in the hands of the universities of applied science. Various curricula and learning environments exist even for programmes related to the same profession.

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

Information not available

Main target groups

AD programmes are of particular interest to those with a VET qualification from professional or middle management upper secondary VET programmes (MBO 3 or 4).

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

Access requirements are a completed professional or middle management upper secondary VET programme (MBO 3 or 4).

Access is also possible to graduates of upper general secondary education.

Assessment of learning outcomes

The responsibility for assessment is in the hands of the universities of applied science. The Dutch-Flemish accreditation body (NVAO) accredits the programmes once every six years. Higher professional bachelor degrees are awarded by the institutions themselves. Official recognition of programmes is granted as long as they are accredited by NVAO.

Diplomas/certificates provided

Associate degree (AD) diploma.

Examples of qualifications

Information not available

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Graduates can continue to higher professional bachelor programmes; their remaining study load is subject to exemptions granted by each programme.

Destination of graduates


Awards through validation of prior learning

Information not available

General education subjects

N

Key competences

Information not available

Application of learning outcomes approach

Information not available

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

2.4% of students in higher professional education (AD, professional bachelor and professional master programmes) are in Associate Degree programmes ([69]2018:
https://www.onderwijsincijfers.nl/kengetallen/hbo/studenten-hbo/aantallen-ingeschrevenen-hbo [extracted 23.5.2019].
).

EQF 6

Higher professional

bachelor

programmes

4 years

ISCED 655

Higher professional bachelor programmes leading to EQF level 6, ISCED 655 (HBO)
EQF level
6
ISCED-P 2011 level

655

Usual entry grade

14+

Usual completion grade


Usual entry age

18 for upper secondary general education

20+ for upper secondary VET graduates

Usual completion age

21+

Length of a programme (years)

4

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

N

Is it continuing VET?

N

Is it offered free of charge?

N

A tuition fee is compulsory. For 2018/2019 this fee is EUR 2060.

For students starting for the first time in higher professional education tuition fees are reduced by half.

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

240 ECTS ([70]European credit transfer and accumulation system.) points

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

Higher professional education provides programmes for professions requiring both theoretical knowledge and specific skills. They are almost always closely linked to a particular profession or group of professions and most programmes include an internship. Higher professional education can also be attended part-time as part of professionally oriented adult education, and, for the last 10 years, in dual learning tracks.

Students (in 1 000s) in higher professional education, 2014-18

Source: www.onderwijsincijfers.nl [extracted 17.6.2019].

Main providers

Higher professional bachelor programmes are provided by publicly financed universities of applied sciences (hogescholen). Non-subsidised, private providers can offer similar programmes if they have appropriate accreditation.

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

The responsibility for curriculum development and assessment is in the hands of the universities of applied science. Various curricula and learning environments exist even for programmes related to the same profession.

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

Higher VET programmes are open to learners aged 17 or older.

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

Admission requires an upper secondary general or vocational education qualification. Some bachelor programmes apply additional admission criteria relating to the subjects learners studied in prior studies. Generally, these criteria do not apply to middle management upper secondary VET (MBO 4) graduates, as they currently have a legal right to enter Higher professional programmes. However, by law universities of applied science can apply stricter admission criteria also for MBO 4 graduates for specific programmes.

Assessment of learning outcomes

The responsibility for assessment is in the hands of the universities of applied science. The Dutch-Flemish accreditation body (NVAO) accredits the programmes once every six years. Higher professional bachelor degrees are awarded by the institutions themselves. Official recognition of programmes is granted as long as they are accredited by NVAO.

Diplomas/certificates provided

Learners can receive a Higher professional bachelor degree upon successful completion of their studies.

Examples of qualifications

The programmes cover one or more of seven areas of study: ‘green’/agriculture, technology, economics and services, health care, behaviour and society, culture and arts, and teacher training.

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

A professional bachelor degree gives access to professional master degree programmes in higher professional education and university master degree programmes. A bridge programme for professional bachelor graduates often precedes their entry into an academic master programme.

After completing the first year of a professional bachelor’s programme, entrance to university bachelor programme is possible.

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Y

General education subjects

N

Key competences

Information not available

Application of learning outcomes approach

Information not available

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

95% of all students in higher professional education (AD, professional bachelor and professional master programmes) are in professional bachelor programmes ([71]2018:
https://www.onderwijsincijfers.nl/kengetallen/hbo/studenten-hbo/aantallen-ingeschrevenen-hbo [extracted 23.5.2019].
).

EQF 7

Professional master’s

programmes

1 year

ISCED 757

Professional master’s programmes leading to EQF level 7, ISCED 757
EQF level
7
ISCED-P 2011 level

757

Usual entry grade


Usual completion grade


Usual entry age

21+

Usual completion age

22+

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?

N

Is it continuing VET?

Information not available

Is it offered free of charge?

N

A tuition fee is compulsory. For 2018/2019 this fee is EUR 2 060.

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

Information not available

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

information not available

Main providers

Professional master’s programmes are provided by publicly financed universities of applied sciences (hogescholen). Non-subsidised, private providers can offer similar programmes if they have appropriate accreditation.

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

The responsibility for curriculum development and assessment is in the hands of the universities of applied science. Various curricula and learning environments exist even for programmes related to the same profession.

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

information not available

Main target groups

Higher professional bachelor programmes graduates

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

Access is provided to holders of a higher professional bachelor degree.

Assessment of learning outcomes

The responsibility for assessment is in the hands of the universities of applied science. The Dutch-Flemish accreditation body (NVAO) accredits the programmes once every six years. Higher professional bachelor degrees are awarded by the institutions themselves. Official recognition of programmes is granted as long as they are accredited by NVAO.

Diplomas/certificates provided

Professional master’s degree

Examples of qualifications

Information not available

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Those who complete a Professional master’s degree can enter a Ph.D. programme.

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Information not available

General education subjects

N

Key competences

Information not available

Application of learning outcomes approach

Information not available

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

2.7% of all students in higher professional education (Associate Degree, professional bachelor and professional master programmes) are in professional master programmes ([72]2018:
https://www.onderwijsincijfers.nl/kengetallen/hbo/studenten-hbo/aantallen-ingeschrevenen-hbo [extracted 23.5.2019].
).

Post-secondary

Click on a programme type to see more info
Programme Types

EQF 4

Specialising

programmes,

1 year

ISCED 453

Specialising programmes leading to EQF level 4, ISCED 453
EQF level
4
ISCED-P 2011 level

453

Usual entry grade

16

Usual completion grade

16

Usual entry age

20

Usual completion age

20

Length of a programme (years)

1

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

N

Is it continuing VET?

Y

Is it offered free of charge?

A tuition fee is compulsory from the age of 18.

For 2018/2018 this fee is EUR 1155

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

Information not available

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

These programmes offer two different learning pathways:

  • school-based; or
  • apprenticeship (dual pathway)

School-based and dual tracks in upper secondary VET lead to the same diplomas; there is no reference to the track on the diploma.

Main providers

Subsidised VET programmes at upper secondary level are offered by 43 regional, multi sectoral VET colleges (ROC – regionale opleidingscentra), 10 specialist trade colleges (vakscholen: specific for a branch of industry), 10 agricultural training centres (AOC – agrarische opleidingscentra) and one school for people with disabilities in hearing, language and communication. Private, non-subsidised providers can offer VET programmes as long as their programmes are accredited by the ministry.

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

In the school-based track (BOL – beroepsopleidende leerweg) practical periods in companies make up at least 20% of study time up to a maximum of 59%. The dual or apprenticeship track (BBL – beroepsbegeleidende leerweg), training takes place in companies at least 60% of study time.

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

in-company practice (internships)

The responsibility for curriculum development and assessment is in the hands of the upper secondary VET schools. Various curricula and learning environments exist even for programmes related to the same profession.

Main target groups

Professional and middle management upper secondary VET programmes graduates

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

Access requirements are a completed professional or middle management upper secondary VET programme (MBO 3 or 4).

Assessment of learning outcomes

Assessment of learning results is the responsibility of schools. The law stipulates that companies providing work-based learning have to be involved. Qualification standards serve as benchmarks for assessments. The education inspectorate supervises quality of examinations (content, level and procedures at programme level).

Obligatory central examinations in Dutch language, English and basic maths have been introduced.

Passing the exam in Dutch language and English is compulsory to obtain a diploma. For basic maths this is not yet the case.

Diplomas/certificates provided

VET learners receive a specialist upper secondary VET qualification.

Examples of qualifications

Manager team/department/project, instructor upper secondary vocational education

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Progression to higher professional education, especially dual or part-time tracks, is possible.

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Y

General education subjects

Y

Dutch language, English, basic math

Key competences

Information not available

Application of learning outcomes approach

Information not available

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

Information not available

Secondary

Click on a programme type to see more info
Programme Types

EQF 1 or 2

Lower secondary

pre-vocational

school-based programmes,

4 years

ISCED 244

Lower secondary pre-vocational school-based programmes . Within lower secondary pre-vocational education four tracks exist: two general programmes, the theoretical and the combined pathway (to be merged into one new pathway in 2021) leading to EQF 2 (ISCED 244) (VMBO- theoretische leerweg and gemengde leerweg). In the mixed pathway 4 hours a week are VET oriented.; Two VET oriented programmes, the basic level vocational learning pathway and the advanced level vocational pathway leading to EQF 1 or 2 (ISCED 244). (VMBO – voorbereidend middelbaar beroepsonderwijs – basisberoepsgerichte or kaderberoepsgerichte leerweg), In these programmes 12 hours a week are VET oriented.
EQF level
1 or 2
ISCED-P 2011 level

244

Usual entry grade

9

Usual completion grade

12

Usual entry age

13

Usual completion age

16

Length of a programme (years)

4

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

Y

Education is compulsory for learners from five to 16 years old. 16- and 17-year-olds without a general or basic vocational qualification at upper secondary level are required to continue learning, the so-called ‘qualification duty’ (kwalificatieplicht).

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

N

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

Information not available

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

These programmes offer both vocational and general programmes. The first two years consist of general subjects. In years three and four, learners choose a learning pathway characterised by ‘level differentiation’, programme orientation and transfer possibilities in the education system. The four learning pathways are:

  • theoretical learning pathway; those graduating from it can proceed to upper secondary vocational education, especially long courses at highest levels of upper secondary or continue in the fourth year of upper secondary general education. Programme content is general in character;
  • Combined learning pathway; similar to theoretical learning pathway, apart from 10 to 15% of study time dedicated to vocational subjects. Progression routes in upper secondary VET are the same as for theoretical learning pathway;
  • advanced level vocational learning pathway; preparation programme for long courses in upper secondary VET with mostly vocational subjects;
  • basic level vocational learning pathway (EQF 1); preparation programme for short courses in upper secondary VET with mostly vocational subjects. Within this pathway, pupils with learning difficulties can follow a dual track, combining learning and working.

In the third year of VMBO, learners in vocational programmes have to make a choice between the 10 vocational profiles.

Whereas the vocational pathways were most popular in the past, since 2011most learners in the third year of secondary education were in one of the general pathways.

Learners in third year of VMBO by programme orientation (2008/9 – 2017/18)

Main providers

Secondary education schools

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

information not available

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

Programmes are available for young people

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

Entry in pre vocational education is based on the advice given by the primary education school.

Assessment of learning outcomes

Central, national examinations and school examinations are held, which are important for obtaining the diploma. The education inspectorate supervises quality of school exams

Diplomas/certificates provided

Lower secondary pre-vocational diplomas have no labour market currency as learners are expected to continue in upper secondary VET or in general education.

Central examinations in Dutch language and basic maths have been introduced. Passing the exam in Dutch language is compulsory to obtain a diploma. For basic maths this is not yet the case.

Examples of qualifications

Agriculture, building, mobility and transport, economy and business, health and welfare.

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Those who complete lower secondary pre-vocational school-based programmes can continue in upper secondary VET or general education. They are not expected to enter the labour market, as their diplomas do not have such value.

To facilitate progression from lower secondary pre-vocational education to upper secondary VET, pre vocational education schools cooperate with VET schools to smoothen transition.

Destination of graduates

In 2019 89% of graduates directly progress to upper secondary vocational education programmes ([57]www.onderwijsincijfers.nl own calculations 2018 [extracted 24.4.2019].).

Awards through validation of prior learning

N

General education subjects

Y

The first two years consist of general subjects.

Dutch language and basic maths.

Key competences

information not available

Application of learning outcomes approach

information not available

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

information not available

In 2017 54% of the students in the third year of lower secondary education are in pre vocational education. 25% of students in third year of secondary education are in the two vocational tracks in pre-vocational education.

Practical labour-oriented

programmes for students

with learning difficulties

ISCED 253

Practical labour market-oriented programmes for students with learning difficulties (PRO - praktijkonderwijs, EQF 1) is available
EQF level
Not applicable
ISCED-P 2011 level

253

Usual entry grade

9

Usual completion grade

13

Usual entry age

13

Usual completion age

17

Length of a programme (years)

5 years

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

Y

Education is compulsory for learners from five to 16 years old. 16- and 17-year-olds without a general or basic vocational qualification at upper secondary level are required to continue learning, the so-called ‘qualification duty’ (kwalificatieplicht).

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

N

Secondary education

Is it continuing VET?

N

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

Information not available

Is it available for adults?

N

ECVET or other credits

Not applicable

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

Information not available

Main providers

Provided by individual schools for practice oriented education (praktijkscholen) or as a part of comprehensive secondary education schools.

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

Information not available

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

Programme is available for young people not able to enter pre vocational education (VMBO). It prepares learners for participation in the labour market and society.

For each student a personal development plan is drawn up, including both practical and theoretical subjects, self-reliance training with assignments such as shopping, cooking, doing odd jobs around the house and traveling independently, personal empowerment and employee skills training.

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

Learners with learning deficits in reading, writing and/or numeracy skills, IQ between 50-88,

Assessment of learning outcomes

information not available

Diplomas/certificates provided

School diploma and/or branch-specific certificate. No formal qualification.

Examples of qualifications

Not Applicable

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Graduates can progress to entry level upper secondary VET programmes (level 1).

Destination of graduates

Approximately 40% progress to entry level upper secondary VET programmes (level 1)

Awards through validation of prior learning

Information not available

General education subjects

Information not available

Key competences

Information not available

Application of learning outcomes approach

Information not available

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

Information not available

Total number of learners in this programme is almost 30.000 (total number of learners in secondary education is close to one million) ([58]https://www.onderwijsincijfers.nl/kengetallen/vo/leerlingen-vo/aantallen-leerlingen-in-het-vo [extracted 23.5.2019].)

EQF 1

Entry level

Programmes,

1 year

ISCED 254

Entry level upper secondary vocational education programmes leading to EQF level 1, ISCED 254 (MBO 1 – entreeopleiding middelbaar beroepsonderwijs)
EQF level
1
ISCED-P 2011 level

254

Usual entry grade

13

Usual completion grade

13

Usual entry age

16 to 17

Usual completion age

17

Length of a programme (years)

1

Within four months after starting an entry course youngsters over 17 are told whether they will be allowed to continue in the same study programme. This means that schools do not remain responsible for young people making insufficient learning progress.

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

Y

Education is compulsory for learners from five to 16 years old. 16- and 17-year-olds without a general or basic vocational qualification at upper secondary level are required to continue learning, the so-called ‘qualification duty’ (kwalificatieplicht).

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

Y

Upper secondary IVET programmes can also function as CVET.

Is it offered free of charge?

A tuition fee is compulsory from the age of 18.

For 2018/19 this fee is EUR 1155

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

Information not available

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

These programmes offer two different learning pathways:

  • school-based; or
  • apprenticeship (dual pathway)

School-based and dual tracks in upper secondary VET lead to the same diplomas; there is no reference to the track on the diploma.

VET legislation mandates accreditation of companies offering work placements to VET students; accreditation has to be obtained for each qualification both for training places in the dual and the school-based track. SBB ([59]Cooperation Organisation for Vocational Education, Training and the Labour Market (Samenwerkingsorganisatie Beroepsonderwijs Bedrijfsleven - SBB).) is responsible for the accreditation process. Names and addresses of the accredited companies are available on a national website ([60]http://www.stagemarkt.nl).

Main providers

Subsidised VET programmes at upper secondary level are offered by 43 regional, multisectoral VET colleges (ROC – regionale opleidingscentra), 10 specialist trade colleges (vakscholen: specific for a branch of industry), 10 agricultural training centres (AOC – agrarische opleidingscentra) and one school for people with disabilities in hearing, language and communication. Private, non-subsidised providers can offer VET programmes as long as their programmes are accredited by the ministry.

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

In the school-based track (BOL – beroepsopleidende leerweg) practical periods in companies make up at least 20% of study time up to a maximum of 59%. The dual or apprenticeship track (BBL – beroepsbegeleidende leerweg), training takes place in companies at least 60% of study time.

Work-based learning type (workshops at schools, in-company training / apprenticeships)
  • in-company practice (internship) is obligatory.

The responsibility for curriculum development and assessment is in the hands of the upper secondary VET schools. Various curricula and learning environments exist even for programmes related to the same profession.

Main target groups

Programmes are available for young people and also for adults.

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

Admission is limited to school leavers from lower secondary education without a diploma, and to graduates of practical labour market-oriented programme

Assessment of learning outcomes

Assessment of learning results is the responsibility of schools. The law stipulates that companies providing work-based learning have to be involved. Qualification standards serve as benchmarks for assessments. The education inspectorate supervises quality of examinations (content, level and procedures at programme level).

Central examinations in Dutch language and basic maths have been introduced but are not yet compulsory for qualification.

Diplomas/certificates provided

VET learners receive an entry level qualification (EQF 1). Diplomas are recognised by the education and training and labour authorities.

Examples of qualifications

Upper secondary VET programmes are offered in four different areas of study (nationally referred to as ‘sectors’): green/agriculture, technology, economics, and health/welfare.

Examples of entry level qualifications:

assistant construction, living and maintenance worker, assistant service and care worker, assistant installation and construction technology worker.

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Entry level courses are aimed at qualifying youngsters to entering programmes at the next level (basic level upper secondary VET programmes), as well as guiding youngsters not capable to make this step, to work.

Destination of graduates

information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Y

It is possible to acquire an entry level diploma by validation of prior learning.

General education subjects

N

Key competences

Information not available

Application of learning outcomes approach

Information not available

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

EQF 2

Basic vocational

programmes

1-2 years

ISCED 353

Basic level upper secondary vocational education programmes leading to EQF level 2, ISCED 353 (MBO 2 – basisberoepsopleiding middelbaar beroepsonderwijs)
EQF level
2
ISCED-P 2011 level

353

Usual entry grade

13

Usual completion grade

14

Usual entry age

16 to 17

Usual completion age

18

Length of a programme (years)

1 to 2

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

Y

Individuals who have left education before obtaining a diploma at MBO 2 level (or equivalent) are defined as early school leavers.

Education is compulsory for pupils from age five to 16. 16 and 17 year-olds without a general or basic vocational qualification at upper secondary level are required to continue learning, the so-called ‘qualification duty’ (kwalificatieplicht). This arrangement was introduced in 2008 to reduce early leaving from education and training

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

Y

Upper secondary IVET programmes can also function as CVET.

Is it offered free of charge?

A tuition fee is compulsory from the age of 18.

For 2018/19 this fee is EUR 1 155

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

Information not available

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

These programmes offer two different learning pathways:

  • school-based; or
  • apprenticeship (dual pathway)

School-based and dual tracks in upper secondary VET lead to the same diplomas; there is no reference to the track on the diploma.

Most learners take part in the school based track, which also appears to be gaining popularity. Between 2008 and 2015 the share of learners in apprenticeship has decreased due to the economic recession. However more structural reasons like upward mobility and growing preferences from youngsters and employers for school based education, could not be excluded. In the last two years the share of learners in the dual track has increased slightly, due to the increased enrolment of adults.

VET legislation mandates accreditation of companies offering work placements to VET students; accreditation has to be obtained for each qualification both for training places in the dual and the school-based track. SBB ([62]Cooperation Organisation for Vocational Education, Training and the Labour Market (Samenwerkingsorganisatie Beroepsonderwijs Bedrijfsleven - SBB)) is responsible for the accreditation process. Names and addresses of the accredited companies are available on a national website ([63]http://www.stagemarkt.nl).

Main providers

Subsidised VET programmes at upper secondary level are offered by 43 regional, multisectoral VET colleges (ROC – regionale opleidingscentra), 10 specialist trade colleges (vakscholen: specific for a branch of industry), 10 agricultural training centres (AOC – agrarische opleidingscentra) and one school for people with disabilities in hearing, language and communication. Private, non-subsidised providers can offer VET programmes as long as their programmes are accredited by the ministry.

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

In the school-based track (BOL – beroepsopleidende leerweg) practical periods in companies make up at least 20% of study time up to a maximum of 59%. The dual or apprenticeship track (BBL – beroepsbegeleidende leerweg), training takes place in companies at least 60% of study time.

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

in-company practice (internships)

The responsibility for curriculum development and assessment is in the hands of the upper secondary VET schools. Various curricula and learning environments exist even for programmes related to the same profession.

Main target groups

Programmes are available for young people and also for adults (16-35).

Participants in the school-based track are mainly youngsters, while most learners in the dual track are 23 or over, this is because this track is also used by companies to upgrade their employees.

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

Access requirements are at least a basic pre-vocational education diploma, a completed entry level upper secondary VET programme, or proof of successful completion of the first three years of upper secondary general education or pre-university education.

To enrol in the dual/apprenticeship track a contract (an employment contract in most cases) with a firm is mandatory. There is no such obligation for the school-based track.

Assessment of learning outcomes

Assessment of learning results is the responsibility of schools. The law stipulates that companies providing work-based learning have to be involved. Qualification standards serve as benchmarks for assessments. The education inspectorate supervises quality of examinations (content, level and procedures at programme level).

Passing central examinations in Dutch language is compulsory to obtain a diploma. Central examination in basic maths is not yet compulsory.

Diplomas/certificates provided

VET learners receive a basic level upper secondary VET qualification (EQF 2). Diplomas are recognised by the education and training and labour authorities.

Examples of qualifications

Upper secondary VET programmes are offered in four different areas of study (nationally referred to as ‘sectors’): green/agriculture, technology, economics, and health/welfare.

Examples: bricklayer. assembly mechanic, security officer, care and well-being assistant,

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Progression to professional upper secondary VET programmes (MBO 3) and (for some students to) middle management upper seconday VET programmes (MBO 4) is possible.

It is the ‘official’ minimum qualification level for the labour market. The term ‘official’ implies that it is the minimum desirable education level for every citizen.

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Y

It is possible to acquire a basic level upper secondary VET diploma by validation of prior learning.

General education subjects

Y

Dutch language and basic maths

Key competences

Information not available

Application of learning outcomes approach

Information not available

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

17% of learners in upper secondary VET programmes

EQF 3

Professional education

Programmes,

2-3 years

ISCED 353

Professional upper secondary vocational education programmes leading to EQF level 3, ISCED 353 (MBO 3 – vakopleiding middelbaar beroepsonderwijs)
EQF level
3
ISCED-P 2011 level

353

Usual entry grade

13

Usual completion grade

15

Usual entry age

16 to 17

Usual completion age

19

Length of a programme (years)

2 to 3

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

Y

Education is compulsory for pupils from age five to 16. 16 and 17 year-olds without a general or basic vocational qualification at upper secondary level are required to continue learning, the so-called ‘qualification duty’ (kwalificatieplicht). This arrangement was introduced in 2008 to reduce early leaving from education and training.

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

Y

Upper secondary IVET programmes can also function as CVET.

Is it offered free of charge?

A tuition fee is compulsory from the age of 18.

For 2018/2018 this fee is EUR 1155

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

Information not available

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

These programmes offer two different learning pathways:

  • school-based; or
  • apprenticeship (dual pathway)

School-based and dual tracks in upper secondary VET lead to the same diplomas; there is no reference to the track on the diploma.

Most learners take part in the school based track, which also appears to be gaining popularity. Between 2008 and 2015 the share of learners in apprenticeship has decreased due to the economic recession. However more structural reasons like upward mobility and growing preferences from youngsters and employers for school based education, could not be excluded. In the last two years the share of learners in the dual track has increased slightly, due to the increased enrolment of adults.

VET legislation mandates accreditation of companies offering work placements to VET students; accreditation has to be obtained for each qualification both for training places in the dual and the school-based track. SBB ([64]Cooperation Organisation for Vocational Education, Training and the Labour Market (Samenwerkingsorganisatie Beroepsonderwijs Bedrijfsleven - SBB).) is responsible for the accreditation process. Names and addresses of the accredited companies are available on a national website ([65]http://www.stagemarkt.nl).

Main providers

Subsidised VET programmes at upper secondary level are offered by 43 regional, multi sectoral VET colleges (ROC – regionale opleidingscentra), 10 specialist trade colleges (vakscholen: specific for a branch of industry), 10 agricultural training centres (AOC – agrarische opleidingscentra) and one school for people with disabilities in hearing, language and communication. Private, non-subsidised providers can offer VET programmes as long as their programmes are accredited by the ministry.

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

In the school-based track (BOL – beroepsopleidende leerweg) practical periods in companies make up at least 20% of study time up to a maximum of 59%. The dual or apprenticeship track (BBL – beroepsbegeleidende leerweg), training takes place in companies at least 60% of study time.

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

in-company practice (internships)

The responsibility for curriculum development and assessment is in the hands of the upper secondary VET schools. Various curricula and learning environments exist even for programmes related to the same profession.

Main target groups

Programmes are available for young people and also for adults (16-35).

For upper secondary VET (level 1 to 4): participants in the school-based track are mainly youngsters, while 46% of those following a dual track are 23 or over, this is because this track is also used by companies to upgrade their employees.

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

Access requirements are:

  • a pre-vocational secondary education certificate/diploma; or
  • proof of successful completion of the first three years of upper secondary general education or pre-university education.

To enrol in the dual/apprenticeship track a contract (an employment contract in most cases) with a firm is mandatory. There is no such obligation for the school-based track.

Assessment of learning outcomes

Assessment of learning results is the responsibility of schools. The law stipulates that companies providing work-based learning have to be involved. Qualification standards serve as benchmarks for assessments. The education inspectorate supervises quality of examinations (content, level and procedures at programme level).

Central examinations in Dutch language and basic maths have been introduced. Passing the exam in Dutch language is compulsory to obtain a diploma. For basic maths this is not yet the case.

Diplomas/certificates provided

VET learners receive a professional upper secondary vocational education qualification (EQF 3). (MBO 3 – vakopleiding middelbaar beroepsonderwijs)

Diplomas are recognised by the education and training and labour authorities

Examples of qualifications

Upper secondary VET programmes are offered in four different areas of study (nationally referred to as ‘sectors’): green/agriculture, technology, economics, and health/welfare.

Examples: all-round carpenter, care provider disability care, financial administrative assistant.

Participation (%) in upper secondary VET (level 1-4) by area of study (2013-2017)

Source: DUO 2018 (Dienst Uitvoering Onderwijs - Service Institution Education).

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Progression to middle management upper secondary vocational education programmes (MBO 4) is possible, as well as to specialising programmes at post-secondary level.

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Y

It is possible to acquire a professional upper secondary VET diploma by validation of prior learning.

General education subjects

Y

Dutch language, basic maths

Key competences

Information not available

Application of learning outcomes approach

Information not available

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

25% of learners in upper secondary VET programmes

EQF 4

Middle management

VET programmes,

3-4 years

ISCED 354

Middle management upper secondary vocational education programmes leading to EQF level 4, ISCED 354 (MBO 4 –middenkaderopleiding middelbaar beroepsonderwijs)
EQF level
4
ISCED-P 2011 level

354

Usual entry grade

13

Usual completion grade

15

Usual entry age

16 to 17

Usual completion age

19 or 20

Length of a programme (years)

3 to 4

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

Y

Education is compulsory for pupils from age five to 16. 16 and 17 year-olds without a general or basic vocational qualification at upper secondary level are required to continue learning, the so-called ‘qualification duty’ (kwalificatieplicht). This arrangement was introduced in 2008 to reduce early leaving from education and training.

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

Y

Upper secondary IVET programmes can also function as CVET.

Is it offered free of charge?

A tuition fee is compulsory from the age of 18.

For 2018/2018 this fee is EUR 1155.

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

Information not available

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

These programmes offer two different learning pathways:

  • school-based; or
  • apprenticeship (dual pathway)

School-based and dual tracks in upper secondary VET lead to the same diplomas; there is no reference to the track on the diploma.

Most learners take part in the school based track, which also appears to be gaining popularity. Between 2008 and 2015 the share of learners in apprenticeship has decreased due to the economic recession. However more structural reasons like upward mobility and growing preferences from youngsters and employers for school based education, could not be excluded. In the last two years the share of learners in the dual track has increased slightly, due to the increased enrolment of adults.

VET legislation mandates accreditation of companies offering work placements to VET students; accreditation has to be obtained for each qualification both for training places in the dual and the school-based track. SBB ([66]Cooperation Organisation for Vocational Education, Training and the Labour Market (Samenwerkingsorganisatie Beroepsonderwijs Bedrijfsleven - SBB).) is responsible for the accreditation process. Names and addresses of the accredited companies are available on a national website ([67]http://www.stagemarkt.nl).

Main providers

Subsidised VET programmes at upper secondary level are offered by 43 regional, multi sectoral VET colleges (ROC – regionale opleidingscentra), 10 specialist trade colleges (vakscholen: specific for a branch of industry), 10 agricultural training centres (AOC – agrarische opleidingscentra) and one school for people with disabilities in hearing, language and communication. Private, non-subsidised providers can offer VET programmes as long as their programmes are accredited by the ministry.

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

In the school-based track (BOL – beroepsopleidende leerweg) practical periods in companies make up at least 20% of study time up to a maximum of 59%. The dual or apprenticeship track (BBL – beroepsbegeleidende leerweg), training takes place in companies at least 60% of study time.

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

in-company practice (internships)

The responsibility for curriculum development and assessment is in the hands of the upper secondary VET schools. Various curricula and learning environments exist even for programmes related to the same profession.

Main target groups

Programmes are available for young people and also for adults (16-35).

Participants in the school-based track are mainly youngsters, while 46% of those following a dual track are 23 or over, this is because this track is also used by companies to upgrade their employees.

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

Access requirements are:

  • a pre-vocational secondary education certificate/diploma; or
  • proof of successful completion of the first three years of upper secondary general education or pre-university education.

To enrol in the dual/apprenticeship track a contract (an employment contract in most cases) with a firm is mandatory. There is no such obligation for the school-based track.

Assessment of learning outcomes

Assessment of learning results is the responsibility of schools. The law stipulates that companies providing work-based learning have to be involved. Qualification standards serve as benchmarks for assessments. The education inspectorate supervises quality of examinations (content, level and procedures at programme level).

Obligatory central examinations in Dutch language, English and basic maths have been introduced.

Passing the exam in Dutch language and English is compulsory to obtain a diploma. For basic maths this is not yet the case.

Diplomas/certificates provided

VET learners receive a middle management upper secondary VET qualification (EQF 4).

(MBO 4 –middenkaderopleiding middelbaar beroepsonderwijs).

Diplomas are recognised by the education and training and labour authorities.

Examples of qualifications

Upper secondary VET programmes are offered in four different areas of study (nationally referred to as ‘sectors’): green/agriculture, technology, economics, and health/welfare.

Examples: planner installations, dental nurse, catering manager.

Participation (%) in upper secondary VET (level 1 to 4) by area of study (2013-2017)

Source: DUO 2018 (Dienst Uitvoering Onderwijs - Service Institution Education).

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Progression is possible to:

  • higher professional education;
  • two-year associate degree programmes (short-cycle higher education, EQF 5);
  • to specialising programmes at post-secondary level.
Destination of graduates

39% of graduates of middle management upper secondary VET programmes enter Higher professional bachelor programmes, while 61% of them enter the job market.

Awards through validation of prior learning

Y

General education subjects

Y

English, Dutch language, basic math

Key competences

Information not available

Application of learning outcomes approach

Information not available

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

54% of learners in upper secondary VET programmes

VET available to adults (formal and non-formal)

Programme Types
Not available

General themes

VET in Norway comprises the following main features:

  • VET is mostly provided as combination of school-based and apprenticeships with apprentices having employment contracts and being paid for their work
  • VET starts at upper secondary level through two main models; 2 + 2 model (two years in school and two years of apprenticeship training) leading to a trade or journemans certificate at EQF level 4 and 3-year school-based model leading to professional competence qualification at EQF level 3
  • There are several progression routes
  • VET is part of the formal education and training system
  • Approximately 42 per cent of the learners choose a vocational programme.
  • Most of the learners are in the age group 16-18 years
  • There are more male than female learners in VET both at upper secondary level and post-secondary VET

Distinctive features ([1]Cedefop (2017). Spotlight on vocational education and training in Norway. Luxembourg: Publications Office.
http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/files/8117_en.pdf
):

At upper secondary level, Norway has a long- standing tradition of close national and regional cooperation between education authorities and the social partners. National cooperation is organised in the National Council for VET (Samarbeidsrådet for yrkesopplæring – SRY), nine vocational training councils (Faglige råd), one for each programme area, and national appeal boards (Klagenemnder). Regional cooperation involves county vocational training boards (Yrkesopplærignsnemnder) and examination boards (Prøvenemnder).

Tripartite cooperation aims to ensure training provided to Norwegian VET learners meets labour market and skill needs. It informs changes in the VET structure, curriculum development, regional structure and volume of VET provision, the framework of examinations leading to trade or journeyman’s certificates, and quality control at all levels. At ISCED level 4, the social partners participate in the National Council for Vocational Colleges. In higher education, institutions are requested to set up a consultative council for cooperation with social partners.

Norway has a unified education structure with VET integrated as an equal to general education in upper secondary education. Most education at this level is provided by public schools. Since learners have a right to attend upper secondary education, most choose to do so. Learners are entitled to upper secondary education and have the right to enrol in one of the learners top three choice.

More than half of trade and journeyman’s certificates are awarded to people over 23.

The main policy measures in Norwegian upper secondary VET concern:

  • increasing the number of apprenticeship placements and increase the competence of vocational teachers;
  • increase the attactiveness of VET;
  • improving post-secondary vocational colleges and the position of their learners.

Skilled workers with VET qualifications will play an important role in the reorganisation of the Norwegian economy. Figures from the Confederation of Norwegian Enterprise (NHO) show that many enterprises lack these employees and consequently lose assignments.

Statistics Norway (SSB) estimates a shortage of almost 100 000 skilled workers in 2035.

The government and the social partners are collaborating closely to increase the number of apprenticeship places and so enable more learners to complete their education. In 2015 the government launched a vocational teacher promotion initiative strategy supporting increased vocational teacher competence. The work continues in 2017.

To make VET more attractive, a new white paper Skilled workers for the future (Fagfolk for fremtiden) was adopted in May 2017. It has close to 50 measures aiming at making post- secondary VET a fully equivalent profession- oriented alternative to university and university college education.

Since 2016 a yearly apprenticeship award has been given to the best public apprenticeships placement.

2018 was declared a VET year in Norway with information and reputation campaigns online and in social media to increase the interest in VET.

Important legislative changes took place in 2018:

  • A regulation was changed so completing the two years of vocational college programme give admission to higher education.
  • A committee was assigned to analyse upper secondary education and to make suggestions on how to change for a better school. A new law for higher vocational education was adopted ([2]https://lovdata.no/dokument/NL/lov/2018-06-08-28).
  • The Government implemented the possibility for learners to change from general education to VET after the first year of upper secondary education.
  • A new programme structure for upper secondary VET was adopted and will be implemented in 2020.

Adopted from VET in Norway Spotlight 2017 ([3]Cedefop (2017). Spotlight on vocational education and training in Norway. Luxembourg: Publications Office.
http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/files/8117_en.pdf
).

Population in 2019: 5 334 762 (1st Quarter) ([4]https://www.ssb.no/befolkning/faktaside/befolkningen)

It increased since 2013 by 4.8% ([5]NB: Data for population as of 1 January 2018. Eurostat table tps00001 [extracted 16.5.2019].) due to the positive growth and migration.

Age group 67+ constitutes 14.8%, an increase of 0.8 pp from 2017, and is expected to increase to 15% by 2020, 20% by 2040, 22% by 2060, and 21% by 2060 ([6]Statistics Norway:
https://www.ssb.no/utdanning/statistikker/voppl
).

An old-age dependency ratio is expected to increase from 25 in 2015 to 44 in 2060 ([7]Old-age-dependency ratio is defined as the ratio between the number of persons aged 65 and more over the number of working-age persons (15-64). The value is expressed per 100 persons of working age (15-64).)

 

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

Source: Eurostat, proj_15ndbims [extracted 16.5.2019].

 

The demographic has an impact on VET. More people move in to the cities. In the cities it is more common to choose general education whereas in rural areas VET is often prefered ([8]Source:
www.ssb.no and
www.udir.no
).

In Aksershus 37,6% of the learners attend VET. In Finnmark 59 % of the learners in upper secondary school attend VET ([9]https://www.ssb.no/utdanning/statistikker/vgu/aar).

In 2018, immigrants and those born in Norway to immigrant parents increased with 1% from 2016, representing 17.3% of the total population. 48.7% (370 000) of this segment of the population originates in other European countries ([10]Statistics Norway, h). The immigrant population is spread all over the country: 55% live in Oslo and the five surrounding counties, constituting 22.5% of the population in the area ([11]Statistics Norway, i).

Information about impact on VET is not available.

Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), defined as enterprises with less than 250 employees, constitute more than 99% of all enterprises. 17% of SMEs have fewer than five employees, mainly because 65.3% of enterprises have no registered employees. Only 0.6% of the total number of enterprises has 100 or more employees ([12]Statistics Norway, b). These numbers indicate that apprenticeship training in Norwegian upper secondary VET often takes place in SMEs.

Most people in the production sector are employed in non-marketed services, business and transport and domestic trade.

 

Employment by production sector 2017

Source: Statistics Norway, c

 

Exports constitute an important part of the economy thanks to a large oil and gas sector, fishing and fish farming, shipping, and power-intensive manufacturing sectors such as metals production, industrial chemicals and paper.

Some trades are regulated and certificates or recognition of qualifications are compulsary to get a job (www.nokut.no).

There is an increasing number of job vacancies ads which require formal education and often a minimum of a bachelor. However, in trades where there is lack of employees and the trade is not regulated job seekers will get an employment also without formal education documentation.

Total unemployment ([13]Percentage of active population, 25 to 74 years old.) (2018): 3% (6% in EU28); it increased by 1.2 percentage points since 2008 ([14]Eurostat table une_rt_a [extracted 20.5.2019].).

Due to an oil crisis, Norway’s unemployment rate peaked in 2016, with slow recovery trend since then.

 

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 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 rates of people aged 15-24 are in general higher than among people aged 25-64 for each education level, with low qualified (ISCED levels 0-2) people scoring the highest unemployment rates.

Among 25-64 year olds, the economic crisis has hit more low-qualified than people with high-level (ISCED levels 5-8) and medium-level qualifications, including most VET graduates (ISCED levels 3 and 4).

Employment rate of 20 to 34-year-old VET graduates increased from 78.7% in 2014 to 91.7% in 2018 ([15]Eurostat table edat_lfse_24 [extracted 16.5.2019].).

 

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

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

 

The increase (+13 pp) in employment of 20-34 year-old VET graduates in 2014-18, was highter compared to the increase in employment of all 20-34 year-old graduates ( 1.8 pp) in the same period in Norway ([16]NB: breaks in time series. Eurostat table edat_lfse_24 [extracted 16.5.2019].).

For more information about the external drivers influencing VET developments in Norway please see the case study from Cedefop's changing nature and role of VET in Europe project [16a]Cedefop (2018). The changing nature and role of vocational education and training in Europe. Volume 3: the responsiveness of European VET systems to external change (1995-2015). Case study focusing in Norway. Cedefop research paper; No 67. https://www.cedefop.europa.eu/files/norway_cedefop_changing_nature_of_vet_-_case_study.pdf

In 2018, the share of the population aged up to 64 with higher education (43.7%) was higher in Norway than EU-28 average (32.2%). Also, the share of the population with only ISCED levels 0-2 achieved was lower (17.0%) than EU28 average (21.8%).

 

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

NB: Data based on ISCED 2011; low reliability or ‘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].

For more information about VET in higher education in Norway please see the case study from Cedefop's changing nature and role of VET in Europe project [16b]Cedefop (2019). The changing nature and role of vocational education and training in Europe. Volume 6: vocationally oriented education and training at higher education level. Expansion and diversification in European countries. Case study focusing on Norway. Cedefop research paper; No 70. https://www.cedefop.europa.eu/files/norway_cedefop_changing_nature_of_vet_-_case_study_0.pdf

Share of learners in VET by level in 2017

lower secondary

upper secondary

post-secondary

Not applicable

49.7%

100%

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

 

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

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

 

In VET at upper secondary level there are more male than female learners; in 2019, 62% males and 38 % females. In post-secondary VET the number of female students is slightly higher (42 %) ([17]www.ssb.no).

Males prefer technical and industrial production (most popular option), followed by electrical trades and building and construction. Females choose healthcare, childhood and early youth development followed by design, arts and crafts and service trades.

It is a national target to increase the number of underrepresented sexes in all vocational educations.

The share of early leavers from education and training has decreased from 17.6% in 2009 to 9.9% in 2018. It is below 10.6%, the EU28 average.

In Norway it is a target to reduce the number of school leavers, and the Norwegian Government`s goal is that 9 out of 10 complete upper secondary education. Several measures have beein implemented and several have been initiated. It is a goal for the Norwegian government to keep up the work also in the future ([18]www.regjeringen.no).

 

Early leavers from education and training in 2009-18

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

 

In Norway, drop-out is defined as non-completion of upper secondary level within a five-year period after starting upper secondary level 1. More than half of those who do not complete upper secondary education complete by the age of 40.

Drop-out issue has been widely discussed in recent years, and measures to tackle it are developed and implemented. Studies have identified factors that influence study progression, success rates, and drop-out rates. Two such factors are social background and learning achievements in primary and lower secondary education. Another factor is the lack of apprenticeship placements for VET learners in the transition from school-based training to apprenticeship training. In 2017, 28 900 learners applied for an apprenticeship contract, and about 20 800 (72 per cent) received an apprenticeship placement. Most of those who receive apprenticeship placements complete their VET training with a trade or journeyman’s certificate. Nine out of 10 passed their final exam in 2015-16 ([19]Education Mirror 2017).

Statistics show significant variations in drop-out rates between education programmes. For instance, in the restaurant and food processing around 40% dropped out before completing the programme, compared to only 3.6% in sport and physical education programmes (one of the general study programmes) the same year ([20]udir.no). The differences in learners’ grades at lower secondary level are seen as a key factor; learners admitted to general study programmes generally have higher marks than learners admitted to vocational programmes.

Measures to reduce drop-out rates range from early interventions encouraging young people to learn, guidance and counselling, financial incentives, promoting VET and practice-based learning, common core subjects in VET, etc.

For more information, please read the VET in Europe report Norway 2018 ([21]Haukås, M.; Skjervheim, K. (2018). Vocational education and training in Europe – Norway. Cedefop ReferNet VET in Europe reports.
http://libserver.cedefop.europa.eu/vetelib/2019/Vocational_Education_Training_Europe_Norway_2018_Cedefop_ReferNet.pdf
).

 

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 Norway has been stable in the last years with 20.1% in 2018, significantly above the EU-28 average of 10.8%.

In Norway most learners at upper secondary level, both VET and general education, are young people in the age group 16-18.

Age group

VET Learners

% of total VET learners

16-18

16 6183

83.40

19-24

20 172

10.10

25-29

4 892

2.50

30-34

3 406

1.70

35+

4 539

2.30

The share of adults (aged 25 and above) in upper secondary education (general and VET), has been increasing with more than 58 % since 2013 ([22]www.ssb.no).

The education and training system comprises:

  • First education level is divided into two levels:
  1. primary education (from 6 years to 13 years)
  2. lower secondary education (EQF 2, ISCED 2)
  • Upper secondary education (EQF 3 and 4 and ISCED 3. VET is available from upper secondary level.
  • Post- secondary, non- tertiary VET education (EQF 5, ISCED 453 and 554)
  • Higher education (EQF 6, 7 and 8, ISCED 6, 7 and 8)

Education is compulsory for 6-16 year olds. It comprise primary education (years 1-7) where learners get no grades, and lower secondary education (years 8-10) where learners are given grades that are also counted for entering upper secondary level.

It is under municipality responsibility and free of charge.

Upper secondary education is offered as general education and VET. The regional county authorities are responsible for general education and VET provision. All young people completing compulsory education have a statutory right to three years of upper secondary education and most of them use it. Public upper secondary schools are free of charge.

Post-secondary non-tertiary education builds on upper secondary education and an upper secondary certificate or an equivalent qualification is a requirement to enrol. The education can often be combined with work. There are public and private providers.

Norway has seven universities, 27 university colleges and five specialised, state-owned university institutions. In addition, Norway has a variety of private institutions for higher education.

Students must pay a small fee each semester. The semester fee is paid to the student welfare organisation at the educational institution. The purpose of the fee is to cover expenses relating to the students’ welfare needs at their place of learning. The amount varies, but it rarely exceeds NOK 500.

In Norway it is possible to attend formal, non-formal, initial and countinuing VET. Depending on the programme the learners may attend school-based or work-based learning or a combination of both. It is also possible to take an exam as an external candidate.

To complete a VET programme at upper secondary level, learners need to pass a final craft- or journeyman exam, which is both theoretical and practical. With one exception; it is possible to do a three year run, which leads to a qualification at EQF level 3.

Initial and countinuing VET are part of the formal educaiton system. In order to progress to CVET, the initial VET has to be completed. Initial VET starts at upper secondary school and most pathways leads to a EQF level 4 qualification. CVET is at EQF level 5.

The apprenticeship is offered at upper secondary level leading to EQF level 4 qualificaiton.

At upper secondary level, VET is conducted both in school and in public and private enterprises. The standard two-plus-two model normally includes two years in school, where students also participate in practical training in workshops and enterprises, followed by two years of formalised apprenticeship (training and productive work) in enterprises. The first year of training consists of an introduction to the vocational area. During the second year, VET students choose specialisations and courses are more trade- specific but core subjects are also included. Some crafts follow varying models with three years in school or one year in school followed by three years of formalised apprenticeship.

Upper secondary VET is completed with a practical-theoretical trade or journeyman’s examination (Fag- eller svenneprøve) leading to an EQF level 4 qualification: a trade certificate (Fagbrev) for industrial and service trades or a journeyman’s certificate (Svennebrev) for traditional crafts. The eight programme areas offer about 190 different certificates.

There are many possible routes to higher education via upper secondary VET.

From Spotlight on VET – 2018 compilation (2019) ([23]Cedefop (2019). Spotlight on VET – 2018 compilation: vocational education and training systems in Europe, p. 54. Luxembourg: Publications Office.
http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/en/publications-and-resources/publications/4168
)

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

Central to the Norwegian education and training system is the Education Act of 17 July 1998 no. 61 (Opplæringsloven), most recently amended on 1 August 2018. It covers primary, lower and upper secondary general education and VET, including apprenticeship training, for young people and adults, delivered by both public and private institutions. It states that the Ministry of Education and Research (Kunnskapsdepartementet) has overall responsibility for national policy development and administration of all levels of education and training. The counties (fylkeskommuner) and municipalities (kommuner) are responsible for developing comprehensive plans and for organising and financing within their jurisdiction.

Pursuant to the Education Act, the social partners have (most often majority) representation in all important advisory bodies for upper secondary VET at national and county level:

  • the National Council for Vocational Education and Training (Samarbeidsrådet for yrkesopplæring (SRY)) gives advice on an overarching level;
  • eight Vocational Training Councils (Faglige råd) give advice on training in specific groups of trades, one for each VET programme (see Table 3, section 2.2.1);
  • the County Vocational Training Board (Yrkesopplæringsnemnda) for each county gives advice on quality, career guidance, regional development and the provision in the county to meet local labour market needs;
  • the trade-specific Examination Boards (Prøvenemnder) are situated in each county;
  • National Appeals Boards (Klagenemnder) cater for candidates who fail the trade or journeyman’s final test at county level.

For post-secondary vocational education (nationally referred as tertiary; fagskoleutdanning), the social partners are consulted through the National Council for Tertiary Vocational Education (Nasjonalt fagskoleråd) established by the Ministry of Education and Research in 2010. This council has less of a formal function than the vocational training councils have at upper secondary level, as the education and training providers at this level design their own programmes. Skills Norway hosts the secretariat. In addition, two advisory bodies with social partner representatives consult tertiary vocational education, one for technical and maritime education and one for health and social education.

Tertiary vocational colleges (fagskoler) represent a significant alternative to higher education. The colleges are important for developing competence and specialisation in VET. The objective of the National Council for Vocational Education and Training is to improve cooperation between the colleges, the rest of the education structure, working life, and society in general. The council acts as a coordinating body for the sector and is the advisory body to the Ministry of Education and Research. It comprises representatives from the education sector, employee and employer organisations and learners.

The regional county authorities are responsible for general education and VET provision, distributing VET financing provided by the State budget and ensuring apprenticeship placement and supervision ([24]Cedefop (2019). Spotlight on VET – 2018 compilation: vocational education and training systems in Europe. Luxembourg: Publications Office. http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/en/publications-and-resources/publications/4168). Enterprises with training contracts, according to the Education act, receive a grant (Basistilskudd I), approximately EUR 640 per month for two years (24 months) per apprentice. There are some grant variations depending on type of apprenticeship contract (main model (2+2) or 2, 3 or 4 years of training in enterprise). In addition, the enterprise receives a yearly funding of approximately EUR 6 000 per contract.

The grant given to training enterprises accepting adult apprentices (basistilskudd II) is about EUR 6 000 per year per apprentice.

Extra funding is also provided for enterprises signing contracts with apprentices in rare and protected crafts.

A EUR 2 million grant to encourage new enterprises to take on apprentices was introduced in 2014. From 2015, the county municipality could define regional criteria for the grant and from 2016 the grant may also be used to decrease unemployment amongst NEETs or ensure a high quality school based training as an alternative for those without an apprenticeships contract.

There are three main groups of VET training staff at upper secondary level:

  • VET teachers who provide formal school-based education and training;
  • training supervisors (faglige ledere); and,
  • trainers (instruktører) who provide training in enterprises.

VET teachers

The formal qualification requirements for VET teachers in schools are specified in national regulations. In principle, there is no difference between VET teachers and other teachers. Both groups must have two sets of formal qualifications: qualifications in the relevant subject and in education (pedagogics and didactics). VET teacher education programmes follow the general degree system, with a three-year bachelor’s degree and a two-year master’s degree. To become a qualified VET teacher, candidates must complete either vocational practical-pedagogical education or vocational teacher education.

Vocational practical-pedagogical education (consecutive model) is a one-year programme (or two years part-time) for learners who already hold a vocational/professional degree or other qualification (see below). The main fields of study are pedagogical theory, vocational didactics and supervised teaching and training practice. The admission requirements are:

  • a professionally oriented bachelor’s or master’s degree +;
  • a minimum of two years of professional experience,

or:

  • qualification as a skilled craftsperson/worker +;
  • general university and college admission certification +;
  • four years of relevant occupational experience +;
  • two years of further studies (technical, professional, managerial).

Vocational teacher education is a comprehensive three-year bachelor programme covering both vocational training and pedagogy. It is also available as a part-time course of study and through work-based provision. The admission requirements are:

  • general university and college admission certification +;
  • mark requirements in mathematics and Norwegian +;
  • trade or journeyman’s certificate; and,
  • minimum two years of relevant work experience.

All teacher education programmes for the lower and upper secondary levels (grades 8–13), including those for VET teachers, were revised in the Norwegian National Qualifications Framework of December 2011, following up both the European Qualifications Framework for Higher Education in the Bologna Process (QF-EHEA) and the European Qualifications Framework for Lifelong Learning (EQF). The new regulation on the relevant framework curricula came into force in March 2013 and was last amended in 2016.

Already employed teachers may apply for grants to do a one-year undergraduate teacher training programme for vocations (60 ECTS) or a vocational teacher education (180 ECTS). The size of the grant size is from EUR 11 000 to 22 000.

Another option for teachers is to do continuing education in common core subjects. While studying, the teacher may be released with up to 37.5% of the employment.

Several new continuing education courses are available from the school year 2018/19, all 15 ECTS. The target group is vocational teachers who teach programme subjects.

Secondment as a visiting trainee for VET teachers, trainers and qualified training supervisors has been introduced to facilitate a better cooperation between schools and enterprises. The teacher will become familiar with the enterprises and the trainers and qualified training supervisors will get an insight in how training in schools is organised for future apprentices.

Training supervisor and trainers

A training enterprise with an apprentice must appoint a qualified training supervisor and one or more trainers. How training is conducted varies between enterprises, but other employees in the enterprise are often involved in the training. The training enterprise must be able to document how the training is planned, organised and assessed in order to ensure that apprentices can develop the necessary skills and competencies. These skills are not assessed by testing and grading, but rather through continuous evaluation by the enterprise and at two meetings a year between the trainer (instruktør) and the apprentice.

Training supervisors (faglige ledere) in enterprises or other workplaces with apprentices must ensure that the training meets the requirements stipulated in the Education Act. They must have one of the following qualifications:

  • a trade or journeyman’s certificate in the relevant trade or craft;
  • master craftsman’s certificate in the relevant craft;

relevant higher education in the trade or craft;

  • adequate educational background in the parts of the trade which, according to the curriculum, will be taught in the enterprise, or;
  • six years of experience in the trade or craft.

Trainers (instruktører) in training enterprises are vocationally skilled, often with a formal vocational qualification. They are not required to hold a teaching certificate. Some trainers do not hold formal qualifications in their vocational skills, but have instead developed them through work experience. Formal regulations simply state that the management of the training enterprise must ensure that trainers have “the necessary qualifications” (Education Act).

Initiatives for VET competence development

Norway will need more vocational education teachers in the years to come to help provide skilled trades-people for the national workforce. The Government gives priority to increased recruitment and qualification of VET teachers in the national competence development initiative from 2015. The Norwegian Directorate for Education and training is responsible for several VET competence development initiatives. Since 2015 there has been a mapping of skills development among VET teachers, for the best possible adapted schemes to this target group. Course material for trainers (instruktør), qualified training supervisor (faglig leder) and examination board member is made easy accessible online, together with tips and guidance to apprentices preparing for the qualifying exam.

It is not complusary to attend CPD for teachers in trainers.

There are, however, many possibilities for those who are interested and fundig is available. The funding covers temporary employment, scholarships and are ment to be incentives for continuing education.

www.udir.no

The courses are selected by the individuals and approved by the school leader. The courses takes place during the school year.

Demands for new skills and changes in the labour market call for continuous adjustment and revision of the upper secondary VET programmes, their content and their modes of delivery. The Ministry, parents, learners, employers, trade unions and others may initiate a need for adjustments or changes.

At upper secondary VET level

All eight upper secondary VET programmes are closely monitored. Changes are made continuously based on input and applications from social partners, counties or the Vocational Training Councils (Faglige råd) that give advice on training in specific groups of trades ([25]One for each VET programme.).

The Directorate for Education and Training (Directorate) hosts the secretariats of both the National Council for Vocational Education (Samarbeidsrådet for yrkesopplæring (SRY)) that gives advice on an overarching level, and the Vocational Training Councils. Vocational Training Councils must report on the situation to the national authorities once in the 4 years nomination period. The report also covers the potential need for changes in their respective VET programmes. The Directorate, in cooperation with Vocational Training Councils, vocational committees (faglig utvalg), county municipalities and social partners, reviewed VET programmes available in 2016. The result is a new structure for vocational subjects in upper secondary schools from 2020, which will be the biggest change in vocational education since 2006. The new structure will strengthen the quality and relevance of the education.

One element that may limit the social partners’ impact on upper secondary VET provision is the emphasis placed on the individual choices of learners. According to legislation ([26]Section 3-1 of the Education Act.), learners are entitled to admission to one out of three preferred upper secondary programmes. In the school year 2017/18, 82% of first-year learners were admitted to their first choice of upper secondary education ([27]Norwegian Directorate for Education and Training:
https://www.udir.no/tall-og-forskning/finn-forskning/tema/soker--og-inntakstall/forsteinntak-til-vgs-2017/
). County authorities must provide programmes and subjects that correspond to these preferences. Thus, in order to balance the VET provision with labour market needs, social partners give advice concerning a wide range of topics related to upper secondary VET, such as: training programme structure, curriculum development, regional structure, volume of VET provision, examinations framework for trade and journeyman’s certificates, and quality control at national, county and local level.

At post-secondary VET level

In post-secondary vocational education, and in higher education, study programmes are designed by the provider. Each post-secondary vocational education programme must be recognised by Norwegian Agency for Quality Assurance in Education (NOKUT). In higher education, all accredited institutions can establish programmes at bachelor level, within the scope of their accreditation. Universities are free to establish programmes at all levels, including master and PhD programmes. All tertiary education institutions have external board members, and consultation with relevant labour market players on the design of programmes is common. In some fields there are national framework curricula to ensure some degree of similarity in training for all graduates (in teacher education, nursing, engineering, auditing, etc.). For other fields of training, the respective industries have national boards which offer advice to higher education providers. All higher education institutions are required to have a strategy and a consultative council for cooperation with working life (Råd for samarbeid med arbeidslivet).

In April 2016, the Government adopted a new white paper ([28]Meld.St. 28 (2015-16) Fag – Fordypning – Forståelse — En fornyelse av Kunnskapsløftet [Report No 28 to the Storting, 2015-16, on in-depth learning and better understanding; a renewal of the Knowledge promotion reform].https://www.regjeringen.no/contentassets/e8e1f41732ca4a64b003fca213ae663b/no/pdfs/stm201520160028000dddpdfs.pdf) that will lead to a renewal of the curricular reform (Kunnskapsløftet) from 2006. The renewal of the school subjects in primary and lower- and upper secondary education, including VET, will give learners more in-depth training and a better subject understanding, more relevant content and links between subjects and the learning process progression will be made clearer. The new curricular will be ready autumn 2020.

The national curriculum

The National Curriculum for Knowledge Promotion (Kunnskapsløftet 2006) covers compulsory primary and lower secondary education and upper secondary education and training as a whole.

The curriculum consists of:

  • the Core Curriculum – values and principles in education;
  • subject curricula;
  • a framework regulating the distribution of teaching hours per subject.

The Core Curriculum deepens appreciation of basic values such as moral outlook, creative abilities, preparation for working life and society, general education, cooperation, and ecological understanding. This part of the curriculum underlies all education in Norway from primary to adult education and constitutes the binding foundation and values for primary and upper secondary education and training.

The quality framework consists of the principles that clarify the school owners’ (municipalities and county authorities’) responsibilities. Key competencies are integrated into the quality framework, such as learning strategies, social competencies, cultural competencies, motivation to learn, and learner participation.

The subject curricula consist of outcome-based learning targets, the main subject areas and basic skills. The main subject areas describe what the learner and apprentice should be able to do. The basic skills are: the ability to express oneself orally and in writing, the ability to read, fluency in numeracy, and the ability to use digital tools. The subject curricula also describe which final assessment will be given on completion.

The distribution of teaching hours per subject is set at national level. This is an overview of how the total teaching hours should be distributed per subject per year for the 10-year compulsory education as well as for the upper secondary level, VET included.

The National Curriculum encompasses 10-year compulsory education and upper secondary education and training as a whole. The competence objectives state what the learner/apprentice should be able to master at each level after grades 2, 4, 7 and 10, as well as after every stage of upper secondary education and training. Basic skills are decisive for acquiring subject-related knowledge and for communicating and cooperating with others in a wide range of situations. Their aims are integrated with, and adapted to each subject according to level. The subject curricula also describe the principles for assessment. However, decisions regarding teaching methods are left to the education and training institutions. Curricular activities at local levels are essential in order to implement the National Curriculum, particularly the outcome-based competence aims in the subject curricula. The school owners must have a system in place for following up the quality of local curricular activities. The Norwegian Directorate for Education and Training develops web-based guidelines to support local curricular activities as well as other measures to raise competence among school owners and school managements.

Developing VET curricula

The Directorate has responsibility for continuous curricular development. For this purpose it makes extensive use of expert groups from both schools and enterprises providing upper secondary education. When the need for a new qualification is identified, a tripartite group is set up to design vocational profiles. These form the basis for developing the subject curricula. The Directorate appoints teams for curricular development consisting of professionals (most often proposed by the employer and employee organisations) and VET teachers.

Within three months, the team submits a draft version of the curricula to the Directorate. The draft is distributed to the sector for a three-month consultation process. Relevant feedback is incorporated into the draft curricula. With support from external representatives from the sector, the quality of the curricula is assured by the Directorate. Depending on the subject, the curricula are finally set by the Ministry or the Directorate.

The identified labour market needs will have no direct influence on teachers’ training or assessment, but the training of teachers and the assessment of learners and apprentices will be dependent on the subject curricula.

In addition, the Directorate has a follow-up system for curricula (System for oppfølging av læreplan (SOL)). The purpose of the system is to obtain a more holistic and systematic overview of the situation for the curricula. SOL entails reviewing, compiling and analysing different sources that inform the situation for the curricula and how they function. These sources include studies, enquiries, evaluation reports and statistics. The intention is that SOL should contribute to making administration of the curricula more systematic, knowledge-based and predictable. The knowledge gained gives the Directorate a basis for initiating the necessary and adequate measures for strengthening implementation of the curricula. These measures can support and inform VET providers when adjusting the curricula.

Norway is in the process of renewing all subjects at all levels of education. The renewed subjects and a new core curriculum will be implemented in 2020.

The tripartite cooperation represents a crucial quality assurance mechanism for upper secondary VET. The Education Act requires the county authority (fylkeskommunen) to consult the County Vocational Training Board (Yrkesopplæringsnemda) on quality issues related to school-based and work-based VET. A main task for the Board is thus to give advice, especially related to accreditation of apprenticeship training enterprises. The County Vocational Training Board should also present proposals for quality development, including the enhancement of partnerships between schools and enterprises, and skills and competence development for teachers and trainers.

As quality assurance is embedded in the legal framework, the state is responsible for inspecting all activities stipulated in the Education Act. Furthermore, the state has the authority to issue legally binding orders to rectify unsatisfactory conditions. The Ministry of Education and Research (Kunnskapsdepartementet) has delegated this responsibility as the inspectorate at national level to the Norwegian Directorate for Education and Training (Utdanningsdirektoratet). The Directorate is responsible for developing and supporting inspections, to facilitate a unified inspection throughout the country, and to provide guidance on legislation. The county governors (fylkesmenn) serve as the operational inspection authority for basic training, and have responsibility for activities at county level. They also serve as the appeal body for individual decisions regarding learners in primary and lower secondary school. However, the Ministry still has the authority to exercise supervision, and can instruct the Directorate for Education and Training and the county governors on how inspections should be performed.

Quality standards for VET providers are set out in the Education Act and relevant regulations. The legislation sets standards for examinations, trade- and journeyman's certification, approval of apprenticeship training enterprises, and teacher competence. The Education Act also regulates the county governors’ responsibility to provide guidance to school owners. This applies to guidance not only on academic matters but also on other matters related to the Education Act. This includes guidance on administrative rules, and is intended to provide the best possible cooperation between the state and the school owners.

In addition to the county governors’ more general inspections, joint national inspections may also be implemented. These inspections are incident-based, and are based on regional risk assessments made in cooperation with the county governors. Situations may arise that invoke immediate attention by the authorities, and give county governors the authority to perform inspections at their own initiative.

The Norwegian Agency for Quality Assurance in Education (Nasjonalt organ for kvalitet i utdanningen (NOKUT)) is responsible for recognition, accreditation and quality assurance in post-secondary vocational education and higher education. The frameworks for these activities are laid down in the respective laws and regulations on quality assurance in higher education and post-secondary vocational education, as well as in supplementary regulations, rules and procedures laid down by NOKUT.

Validation of non-formal and informal learning is possible in all levels of education and training in Norway and can be used to acquire modules and/or full qualifications. There are laws and regulations in place relating to each level of education and training, providing a general framework for validation of prior learning. The Norwegian system of validation is based on shared principles across all sectors. One of these principles is that the validation process should be voluntary and of benefit to the individual.

Differences in funding and governance mechanisms found in primary, upper secondary, post-secondary vocational and higher education affect the preconditions for setting up validation procedures. The sectors of education have developed schemes for validation of non-formal and informal learning according to their specific needs and preconditions. Higher education institutions exercise the greatest freedom in the design and delivery of validation, because responsibilities are devolved to each institution. This also concerns post-secondary VET. The national government and its underlying administrations provide guidelines for all educational sectors.

During the autumn of 2013, the Norwegian Directorate for Education and Training, in cooperation with stakeholders from the sectors, developed national guidelines relating to adults who claim the right to have their formal, non-formal and informal learning validated compared to lower or upper secondary level. The guidelines focus mainly on how to interpret the regulations relating to validation and how to implement the different points described in the regulations. The purpose of the national guidelines for validation is to ensure that sound validation procedures are carried out, leading to similar practices in all Norwegian counties and municipalities. By providing a national basis for local practice, the guidelines could spur confidence and legitimacy of the validation practices.

  • It is possible to acquire a full qualification on the basis of validation in the Programme for General Studies in upper secondary education (university-preparatory).
  • In upper secondary VET, it is necessary to take the relevant final (trade) examination to achieve a trade or journeyman's certificate as a skilled worker.
  • In higher education, individuals can gain exemptions for parts of study programmes. On the diploma as well as on the Diploma Supplement, the relevant courses and credits will be identified as having been obtained through validation. In post-secondary VET, the possibility to give exemption from courses and modules on the basis of validation was introduced through regulations of 1 August 2013.

In terms of awarding credits or partial qualifications after validation in primary and upper secondary education and training, the Education Act permits candidates to achieve a partial certificate qualification, called 'certificate of competence' (kompetansebevis) at any level through validation. Candidates then have the right to access further education and training, in order to achieve a full trade or journeyman’s certificate. The certificate of competence is awarded to recognise that an individual has achieved certain objectives (learning outcomes) within an upper secondary curriculum. The certificates can serve as a stand-alone evidence of competences and can be used, for example, to support a job application or participation in further education courses.

These partial certificates of competence are recognised on the labour market, as a documentation of parts of the demands in the trade. It is also possible to access education through validation – the individual must be able to show (through documentation or other means) that s/he has the required skills and competences to enter a certain level of education and training.

For more information about arrangements for the validation of non-formal and informal learning please visit Cedefop’s European database ([29]http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/en/publications-and-resources/data-visualisations/european-database-on-validation-of-non-formal-and-informal-learning).

Salary during apprenticeship training

The apprenticeship scheme is a critical component of the upper secondary VET 2+2 model. The regulated salary during the apprenticeship training period is a financial incentive to promote learner participation in VET. The salary for apprentices constitutes a given percentage of the initial salary of a worker with a craft certificate in the relevant vocation. The salary is increasing throughout the apprenticeship.

For apprentices following the main model (2+2) the salary will be calculated as follows:

1st half of the years in an approved training company: 30 percent of the initial salary;

2nd half: 40 percent of the initial salary;

3rd half: 50 percent of the initial salary;

4th half: 80 percent of the initial salary.

Grants and loans for learners

The main purposes of the Act relating to Learner Grants (Lov om utdanningsstøtte) of 1985, most recently amended in 2015, are to:

  • improve equity in access to education and training regardless of geography, gender, age and social background;
  • improve learning environments and enable learners to study more effectively;
  • ensure a qualified workforce for society at large.

Learner loans carry no interest charges during the period of study. All registered learners participating in formally recognised study programmes at both public and private institutions of higher education may receive grants and subsidised loans from the Norwegian State Educational Loan Fund (Statens lånekasse for utdanning) for subsistence expenses. Support is also provided to Norwegian learners abroad, who may receive additional support for travel, admission and tuition fees.

Learners in upper secondary school-based VET (learners and apprentices alike) may qualify for grants and subsidised loans from the Norwegian State Educational Loan Fund subject to a needs-based assessment. They may receive:

  • relocation grants if they have to move away from home to attend school or enterprise-based training, and are also entitled to support from the Norwegian State Educational Loan Fund.

The following grants are also available to adult learners;

  • additional subsistence grant to cover expenses if they live away from home;
  • grants for purchasing compulsory equipment, according to study programme.

Support to learners at upper secondary level is mainly provided in the form of grants.

The apprenticeship scheme is a critical component of the upper secondary VET 2+2 model. After two years of school-based education, most VET programmes involve a two-year apprenticeship in a training enterprise. This period is equivalent to one year of practice-based training and one year of productive work for the training enterprise. During the first year as an apprentice with practice-based training the enterprise focus on teaching. There is no expectation to profit-making. The second year with productive work is expected to be profit-making for the company. After two years in school, the apprentice signs a legally binding apprenticeship contract with the training enterprise and a representative from the county authorities. By law, apprentices are employees of the enterprise, with the rights and obligations that follow. They are entitled to a salary that increases with the apprentice's productivity during the two-year apprenticeship period. Salary increases normally start at 30% and increase to 80% of a skilled worker’s salary. For the school year 2017/18, 66 562 vocational learners are registered in upper secondary education in Norway and there are 41 480 apprentices with apprenticeship contracts.

In 2017, all training enterprises received a state grant of approximately EUR 15 000 per apprentice for a 12-months training period. The grant covers the training period only, not the productive component. The grant is distributed evenly throughout the apprenticeship period in the company. The grant is supposed to cover costs related to training the apprentice. Additional grants are given to enterprises either for offering apprenticeships in rare and protected crafts (små og verneverdige fag) or for accepting apprentices or training candidates with special needs.

Legislation ([30]Under the Education Act (Opplæringsloven); came into effect 1.1.2009.) guarantees the right of every learner to receive both guidance regarding educational and vocational matters as well as for social or personal character.

Guidance and guidance services are provided by different institutions according to level of education and relation to the labour market. The main guidance services are organised within the school system. Learners in primary and secondary education have the right to “necessary guidance on education, vocational opportunities, vocational choices and social matters”. The provision is organised by the individual schools. All learners are entitled to guidance according to their needs.

A whole-school approach to guidance has been adopted, meaning that individual teachers, and all other personnel in schools, have a responsibility to provide guidance to learners. Moreover, one subject in the curriculum for lower secondary schools, Study Elective Programme Subject (Utdanningsvalg), is specifically aimed at providing learners with the competencies they need to make informed educational and vocational choices. A similar subject is offered in VET programmes in upper secondary schools. In addition to this, and with a different responsibility for guidance, guidance counsellors in lower and upper secondary education provide guidance to learners in school. Guidance counsellors in the Follow-up Service (Oppfølgingstjenesten) provide guidance to youth aged between 16 and 24 who are neither in education nor in employment.

All counties have allocated funding from the state budget to establish partnerships for career guidance, and most counties have established such partnerships or other forms of regional cooperation. Local and regional school authorities, the Norwegian Labour and Welfare Administration (NAV), the business sector, and social partners are often partners in these initiatives. Several counties have established career centres to provide guidance for everyone, primarily adults aged above 19. The career centres also play a role in helping improve the competence of guidance counsellors in schools, in local Labour and Welfare offices (NAV) and other institutions offering career guidance. The National Unit for Lifelong guidance in Competence Norway is in charge of managing and monitoring partnerships in career guidance.

In 2014 a master’s degree in career guidance was established in Norway. Career guidance strengthens the individual’s ability and competence to make informed education and vocational choices.

Although all learners in upper secondary education have the right to guidance under the Education Act, apprentices do not have this right. An official Norwegian report ([31]NOU 2016:7 Norge I omstilling – karriereveiledning for individ og samfunn [NOU 2016:7 Career guidance for individuals and society].https://www.regjeringen.no/en/topics/education/voksnes-laring-og-kompetanse/artikler/sammendrag-av-nou-20167-karriereveiledning-for-individ-og-samfunn/id2485528/) recommends a right to guidance also for apprentices. It additionally recommends an online guidance platform to increase the quality of guidance in both lower and upper secondary schools. Universities and some university colleges have established career centres to provide guidance to learners. Adults who need guidance may use the local offices of the Norwegian Labour and Welfare Administration (NAV) or visit regional career centres established by partnerships in career guidance. A small number of private agencies also provide career guidance on a commercial basis.

Please see also:

Vocational education and training system chart

Tertiary

Programme Types
Not available

Post-secondary

Click on a programme type to see more info
Programme Types

Master craftsperson

programme

Master craftsperson programme (Mesterbrevordningen)
EQF level
Not applicable
ISCED-P 2011 level

Not applicable

Usual entry grade

Not applicable

Usual completion grade

Not applicable

Usual entry age

Not applicable

Usual completion age

Not applicable

Length of a programme (years)

1,5 - 2 (part-time)

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

Is it part of formal education and training system?

N

The craftsman education is still not linked to NKF/EQF

Is it initial VET?

N

Is it continuing VET?

Y

A trade or journeyman certificate is requred, as well as several years of relevant work experience.

Is it offered free of charge?

N

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

Not applicable

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

Master craftsperson programme covers general administrative subjects, e.g. organisation and management, marketing and financial control, as well as craft theory.

Common subjects are delivered part-time over the course of two years (the training is typically combined with full-time work as an employee or owner of an SME). ICT is integrated throughout the course. Both common subjects and craft theory are offered as evening and part-time courses. Distance education courses are also available.

Main providers

Three institutions provide master craftsman education: Folkeuniversitetet (FU), Norges grønne fagskole – Vea, Blimester ([38]www.blimester.com)

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

This education targets people that are already in work, and the education is organised to allow for full time work besides studies.

Work-based learning type (workshops at schools, in-company training / apprenticeships)
  • Theory studies in e.g. administration, economics and leadership.
  • Both classroom teaching and web based education supplemented by study gatherings are offered.
Main target groups

Master craftsman education is for holders of a trade or journeyman’s certificate who also have several years of relevant work experience and wish to set up their own business or hold a managerial position in a craft enterprise.

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

Trade or journeyman’s certificate and several years of relevant work experience.

Assessment of learning outcomes

Courses in common subjects conclude with a written examination. In craft theory, a written examination is held for each master craftsman subject. Learners may also take the examination as private candidates.

Master craftsmen programme is administered by the publicly appointed Master Craftsman Certificate Committee (Mesterbrevnemnda (MCC)), which determines training standards and practice requirements and awards the certificate.

In recent years, MCC has further extended the education system for master crafts persons. As a result, learning output-based degrees from other providers can also be recognised.

Diplomas/certificates provided

Successful candidates obtain the title “Master Craftsperson”.

The master craftsman certificate is awarded in 73 different crafts covering all traditional trades in which journeyman’s examinations are held and journeyman’s certificates issued, as well as some (newer) trades with craft examinations and certificates.

Examples of qualifications

Example of qualifications (out of more than 70):

  • Masonry
  • Goldsmith
  • Wodcarving
Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Mater craftsman education does not qualify for further education.

The education qualifies for:

  • setting up own business
  • taking a managerial position in a craft enterprise
Destination of graduates

The education is primarily for people already in work, and they take the education part time.

Awards through validation of prior learning

Y

Validation of prior learning in order to achieve the mastercraftsman tribunal (Mesterbrevnemnda) is possible.

General education subjects

Master craftsperson education combines general administrative subjects such as business organisation and management, marketing, financial control, and vocational theory.

Key competences

N

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

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

Not applicable

EQF 5

Post-secondary

VET colleges,

0.5-2 years

ISCED 453, 554

Post-secondary vocation education (nationally referred as tertiary) leading to EQF level 5, ISCED 453 and 554 (fagskoleutdanning)
EQF level
5
ISCED-P 2011 level

453 and 554

Usual entry grade

Not applicable

Usual completion grade

Not applicable

Usual entry age

Not applicable

Share of learners in a range of age groups is as following:

  • 30% 21-25 y.o.
  • 20% 26-30 y.o.
  • 14% 31-35 y.o.
  • 11% 36-40 y.o.
  • 7% 41-45 y.o.
  • 7% 46-50 y.o.
  • 5% 51+ y.o.

Data from 2018 ([39]https://www.ssb.no/fagskoler).

Usual completion age

6 months up to 2 years after study entry.

Length of a programme (years)

From 0.5 year to 2 years (up to 3 years in special cases)

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

N

Is it continuing VET?

Y

Is it offered free of charge?

Depending on the study, some are free of charge and some are with tuition fee.

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

From 30 – 120 higher vocational eductaions credits.

In special cases 180 credits

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

Education at this level is available as:

  • part time studies to be combined with work
  • online studies

Training is available at school and within an enterprise.

Main providers

Post-secondary (nationally referred as tertiary) vocational colleges (fagskoler), private and public

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

The share of work-based learning depends on the study and varies.

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

Work-based learning may be:

  • practical training at school
  • in-company practice
Main target groups

Programmes are available both for young people and for working adults.

The educations especially target working adults and the study is often adapted to fit a combination of work and study.

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

Access is based on an upper secondary general or vocational qualification, depending on the branch of study, or validated prior learning (VPL).

No practical work experience is required. However, many programmes, particularly those aimed at the health and social service sector, are designed as part-time courses, where learners are required to work part-time and undertake project assignments at a workplace, often their own.

No age restrictions apply.

Assessment of learning outcomes

The education is based on learning outcomes and the students have to pass a final examination.

Diplomas/certificates provided

VET students at this level may receive three qualifications:

  • Higher professional degree (120-180 credits)
  • Professional degree (60 -90 credits)
  • Certificate without a degree
Examples of qualifications

Mechanical engineer, electro technician, fashion designer and pattern maker.

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Candidates who have completed a two-year post-secondary VET programme qualify for some engineer educations and some technical educations at tertiary level. The framework curricula for the bachelor programmes in engineering allow for the recognition of relevant two-year technical post-secondary vocational education as one year of the engineering programme.

Some vocational education colleges have agreements with higher education institutions whereby their graduates are directly admitted to the second year of engineering programmes in the relevant field of study. However, such agreements often set conditions for technical vocational college learners. For instance, engineering at tertiary education level requires college candidates to spend 3½ or 4 years on completing their bachelor's degree.

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Y

Recognition of prior learning (RPL): Access based on individual assessment of formal, informal and non-formal qualifications is open to applicants aged 25 or above. Applications for admission on the basis of RPL are processed locally at each institution.

General education subjects

N

Key competences

N

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

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

Information for this type of programmes is not available.

In general, there are 16 000 students at post-secondary level compared to 293 287 students at universities and university colleges.

Data from 2019 ([40]https://www.ssb.no/fagskoler).

Secondary

Click on a programme type to see more info
Programme Types

EQF 3

School-based

programmes,

no WBL, 3 years

ISCED 353

The three-year upper secondary school-based pathway leading to EQF level 3, ISCED 353 (Yrkeskompetanse)
EQF level
3
ISCED-P 2011 level

353

Usual entry grade

11

Usual completion grade

13

Usual entry age

16

Usual completion age

18

Length of a programme (years)

3

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

N

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

Credits are not available at upper secondary level.

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

School-based learning consisting of 981 hours of teaching the first year of which 477 hours in the programme subject.

Second year:

982 hours of teaching, 477 hours in the programme subject

Third year:

981 hours, 926 hours in the programme subject.

Main providers

Upper secondary schools

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

This scheme is available both for young people and also for adults.

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

Completed lower secondary education is required.

The level of the grades to enter may vary, depending on the demand (the number of applicants) and the grades of the applicants.

Assessment of learning outcomes

The learners need to pass a compulsory final exam, which is based on learning outcomes and usually includes a practical part.

At upper secondary level the learners have the right to a new final exam if the first attempt fails. The school is obliged to offer the opportunity to write the exam next time this is scheduled at the school. If a learner fail to do so, the exam has to be completed as an external candidate for a public examination

Diplomas/certificates provided

Professional competence qualification at EQF level 3

Examples of qualifications

Interior designer, piano repair, space technology, pharmacy technician, medical secretary and gardening.

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Those who complete VET may enter the labour market. The learners may also do a craft or journeyman`s certificate exam after five years of working in the trade.

Destination of graduates

Information for this programme is not available.

In Norway the graduates are tracked three years after completing a vocational education. In total, 80.8 % of all the 2016-17 graduates are employed, 12 % are in education and 7.2 % are neither in education nor job ([33]www.udir.no).

Awards through validation of prior learning

Achieving qualifications through validation of prior learning is possible.

General education subjects

Y

The common core subjects (fellesfag) (Norwegian, English, mathematics, physical education, natural sciences and social sciences) are the same for all VET programmes.

Key competences

Y

Key competences are integrated in the competence aims for the subject.

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

The programme is based on learning outcomes.

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

In 2018/19 there were 121 390 learners in general education at upper secondary level. 35.59 % of the learners at upper secondary level were in vocatonal education and training (67 092). Only 2 465 learners attended the third year at upper secondary school and 58 % of them attended this programme. The others progress to apprenticeship or to a bridge year to access higher education.

EQF 4

Apprenticeship training,

WBL -100%

2+2 year

School-based programmes,

WBL 20-35%

ISCED level 353

The 2+2 apprenticeship pathway leading to EQF level 4, ISCED level 353 (2+2 modellen)
EQF level
4
ISCED-P 2011 level

353

Usual entry grade

11

Usual completion grade

14

Usual entry age

16

Usual completion age

19

Length of a programme (years)

4

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

N

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

Upper secondary school is free of charge.

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

Credits are not available at this level of education.

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

The model entails two years of education in school followed by two years of formal apprenticeship training in company.

Main providers
  • VET schools in the first two years
  • Training companies in the second two years
Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

=20-35% in the first two years

=100 % in the second two years

Work-based learning type (workshops at schools, in-company training / apprenticeships)
  • practical training at school in the first two years
  • apprenticeship in company in the second two years
Main target groups

Mainly young people, 16-18 year olds (85%).

The age group 19-24 represent 9.6%, 25-29 = 2.1%, 30-34 = 1.4% and 35+ represents 1.8% ([34]Statistics Norway:
https://www.ssb.no/vgu
).

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

Completed lower secondary education is required.

Assessment of learning outcomes

Upper secondary VET is completed with a practical-theoretical trade or journeyman’s examination (Fag- eller svenneprøve). In the test, candidates demonstrate their vocational skills, and explain and justify the methods chosen to solve the test assignments.

A county-appointed, trade-specific examination board prepares and assesses the examination. The minimum requirement for being a board member is a formal vocational education. The county authorities award the certificate.

In 2017, 82.6% of candidates who entered a VET programme in 2012 passed the exam, 5.8% completed their apprenticeship but failed the exam, 10.8% failed to complete their apprenticeship and 0.8% are still undertaking their apprenticeship ([35]Norwegian Directorate for Education and Training:
https://skoleporten.udir.no
).

Learners' competencies are assessed continuously throughout the four years of education and training, in school by the teacher and in apprenticeship by the training supervisor. In addition, they have to take exams in individual subjects developed at local and county level. Learners may also be randomly selected to take nationally organised examinations in common core subjects. Most learners have passed exams in vocational subjects after two and four years of training. After two years in school, learners take an interdisciplinary local practical exam which covers all the vocational subjects.

Diplomas/certificates provided

Upper secondary VET practical-theoretical trade or journeyman’s examination lead to an EQF level 4 qualification: a trade certificate (Fagbrev) for industrial and service trades or a journeyman’s certificate (Svennebrev) for traditional crafts.

The two certificates have equal status based on similar sets of theoretical knowledge and practical skills.

Examples of qualifications

Goldsmith, winder, painter, roofer.

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

There are many progression opportunities to post-secondary and tertiary education from upper secondary VET.

With a trade or journeyman’s certificate, the options are:

  • Higher vocational education (EQF level 5), 6 to 24 months specialisation/further education
  • via a one-year bridging course in core subjects (påbyggingsår); direct admission to certain specially designed bachelor programmes (Y-veien).

Options without a trade or journeyman’s certificate are:

  • five years’ experience gained in work and/or education and passing a course in core subjects (for those aged 23 or older);
  • recognition of relevant formal, informal and non- formal learning for people aged 25 or older who do not meet general entrance requirements;
  • successfully completed two years in vocational college;
  • completing the bridge course (Påbygging til generell studiekompetanse) after completing the first two years of a VET programme. This option is a choice made by more than a quarter of upper secondary VET learners. In 2017, 8 200 learners (27.8% of the VET learners) selected this option after their second year in a VET programme ([36]Statistikk-portalen:
    https://skoleporten.udir.no/
    ). Already after two years in a VET programme, learners may transfer to a third year of supplementary studies that qualify them to enter higher education. This year leads to a qualification at NQF level 4B and EQF level 4. This pathway replaces the two-year apprenticeship period, and the learners will thus not receive a trade or journeyman’s certificate. The third year is a 'package' course in the six key academic subjects of Norwegian, English, mathematics, natural sciences, social sciences, and history, and successful candidates satisfy the general admission requirements to higher education (on par with those taking general study programmes). Apprentices also have a statutory right to a year of supplementary studies after passing the trade- or journeyman’s test, a fifth year of training. The fifth year is supplementary studies which qualify for higher education.
Destination of graduates

Information for this programme is not available.

In Norway the graduates are tracked three years after completing a vocational education. 80.8 % of all 2016-17 graduates are employed, 12 % are in education and 7.2 % are neither in education nor job ([37]www.udir.no).

Awards through validation of prior learning

Y

Validation of prior learning is always an option.

The Directorate of Education and training has developed national guidelines for the assessment of prior learning in lower and upper secondary school for adults.

General education subjects

Y

 

The 2+2 pathway (apprenticeship model) with structure of subjects

Source: ReferNet Norway.

 

The common core subjects (fellesfag) (Norwegian, English, mathematics, physical education, natural sciences and social sciences) are the same for all VET programmes.

Key competences

Y

The key competences are integrated in the competence aims for the subject.

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

The programme is based on learning outcomes.

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

No information available on the share of learners.

At upper secondary level, 72% of the vocational programmes are structured according to the two main models (2+2 apprenticeships and 3+0 school based).

74.2% of all the learners applying for an apprenticeship signed a contract in 2018.

VET available to adults (formal and non-formal)

Programme Types
Not available