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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

General themes

VET in Finland comprises the following main features:

  • competence-based approach;
  • personal competence development plan for each learner charting and recognising previously acquired skills;
  • VET teacher profession is attractive;
  • early leaving from education and training is low and decreasing; leaving VET early is still more common than in general education;
  • participation in lifelong learning is high, also due to VET participation.

Distinctive features ([1]Cedefop (2016). Spotlight on vocational education and training in Finland. Luxembourg: Publications Office.
http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/files/8100_en.pdf
):

National qualification requirements have been based on a competence-based approach since the early 1990s. Flexibility of vocational qualifications has increased, for example by diversifying opportunities to include modules from other vocational qualifications (including further and specialist vocational qualifications) or university of applied sciences degrees. More flexibility will allow students to create individual learning paths and increase their motivation for completing their studies. It is also meant to give education providers an opportunity to meet regional and local labour market demands more effectively. Studies in upper secondary VET are based on individual study plans, comprising both compulsory and optional study modules. Modularisation allows for a degree of individualisation of qualifications:

  • a clearer range of qualifications that better meets the needs of working life;
  • a single competence-based method of completing qualifications;
  • competence-based and individual study paths for all.

The Finnish National Agency for Education reformed all 43 initial, 65 further and 56 specialist vocational qualifications in 2017-18. The fundamental goal of this reform was to reduce the number of qualification titles from 360 to 164 and offer broader programmes, strengthen the competence-based approach of vocational qualification requirements and the modular structure of qualifications. This supports building flexible and individual learning paths and promotes validation of prior learning.

A career as a VET teacher is generally considered attractive, reflected in the high number of applications to enrol in vocational teacher training programmes that invariably exceed intake. While up to a third of the applicants are admitted annually, there are major variations between different fields.

There is growing concern over the risk of social exclusion of young people. In 2018, among 20 to 24 year-olds, 11.8% were neither in employment nor in education and training. Youth unemployment is on the increase; the rate for 15 to 24 year-olds was 20% in 2014, 21.4% in 2016 and 20.4% in 2019. Both rates have improved in recent years ([2]Source: Statistics Finland.).

The government introduced the youth guarantee programme from the beginning of 2013. This offers everyone under 25, as well as recent graduates under 30, a job, on-the-job training, a study place or rehabilitation within three months of becoming unemployed.

Dropout from vocational education and training is far more common than from general upper secondary education, although it is not high in European terms (7.4% in the 2016/17 school year). Prevention of both dropout from education and exclusion from society is a policy priority: every individual who drops out of education and the labour market is seen as being both a personal tragedy and a significant cost to society. A programme was set up in 2012 to develop anticipatory and individualised procedures in guidance and counselling and create pedagogical solutions and practices supporting completion of studies, as well as work-centred learning environments and opportunities. There is also emphasis on creating practices to recognise prior learning more effectively. An additional EUR 4 million has been allocated to this programme. The results of these projects will be seen in 2020 at the earliest.

A new Act on VET was adopted in June 2017 and entered into force on 1 January 2018. Its objective has been to renew VET legislation, the financing system and create a more competence-based and customer-oriented system.

Data from VET in Finland Spotlight 2016 ([3]Cedefop (2016). Spotlight on vocational education and training in Finland. Luxembourg: Publications Office.
http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/files/8100_en.pdf
), updated in May 2019.

 

 

Population in 2018: 5 513 130 ([4]NB: Data for population as of 1 January; break in series. Eurostat table tps00001 [extracted 16.5.2019].)

It increased by 1.6% since 2013 mainly due to immigration ([5]NB: Data for population as of 1 January; break in series. Eurostat table tps00001 [extracted 16.5.2019].).

As in many other EU countries, the population is ageing, but the share of young people remains slightly above the EU-28 due to immigration. Since 2000, annual immigration to the country has more than doubled, reaching 249 500 or 4.5% of the population in 2017. This is also due to the increased number of asylum seekers in 2015-16 ([6]Statistics Finland:
www.tilastokeskus.fi/tup/maahanmuutto/maahanmuuttajat-vaestossa/ulkomaan-kansalaiset_en.html#tab1483972171375_1
).

The old-age dependency ratio is expected to increase from 31 in 2015 to 50 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 years). The value is expressed per 100 persons of working age (15-64).). This will also force the retirement age to increase, reaching 62.4 years in 2025 ([8]In 2017 it was 61.2 years. Source: Finnish Centre for Pensions:
www.etk.fi/en/statistics-2/statistics/effective-retirement-age/
).

 

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

Source: Eurostat, proj_15ndbims [extracted 16.5.2019].

 

According to population forecasts, the proportion of those aged over 65 is increasing faster than the EU average. This is mostly due to the ‘baby-boomer’ generations, born after World War II, reaching pensionable age.

Demographic challenges will impact the availability of the labour force, growth of the economy and, thus, provision of welfare services. The changing population structure will also require improving attainment, preventing early leaving from education and training, facilitating young people’s transition to further education and making flexible learning paths for completing qualifications.

Because of the demographic challenges, e.g. ageing population, the demand for labour in social and welfare services will grow in the future. According to the National Agency for Education ([9]https://www.oph.fi/julkaisut/2011/koulutus_ja_tyovoiman_kysynta_2025), demand for new employees in health care and social services will be nearly 120 000 in the period from 2008 to 2025. This has an impact on VET as, for example, practical nurses and dental assistants receive VET qualifications.

The country has two official languages, Finnish and Swedish.

Education and training institutions teach in Finnish and Swedish, but bilingual providers also exist, providing education in some foreign languages, mostly in English. In the Sámi language regions VET is also provided in a Sámi language.

The language of instruction for initial and continuing VET is decided in the licence for VET provision, granted by the education ministry.

Most companies are small- and medium-sized.

The highest share of the labour force is in human health and social work, manufacturing and in wholesale and retail trade.

 

Employees (age 15 to 74) by economic sector in 2018

Source: Statistics Finland. https://www.tilastokeskus.fi/tup/suoluk/suoluk_tyoelama_en.html

 

The main export sectors are ([10]Source:
https://atlas.media.mit.edu/en/profile/country/fin/ [accessed 2.4.2019].
):

  • machines (23%) ([11]E.g. broadcasting equipment, electrical transformers.);
  • paper goods (16%) ([12]E.g. coated paper, wood pulp.);
  • metals (14%) ([13]E.g. stainless steel, raw zinc.);
  • transportation goods (11%) ([14]E.g. cars, ships.).

Relatively few professions require a specific type of education. Education requirements mainly exist in health care, teaching, rescue and security jobs. Also the Finnish Evangelical Lutheran Church requires its employees to have education in the field. Such professions usually require a higher education degree.

A few regulated professions require a vocational qualification. Examples are nurses, prison and security guards, construction divers and chimney sweeps.

The labour market is, therefore, considered flexible.

Total unemployment ([15]Percentage of active population, 25 to 74 years old.) (2018): 6.1% (6.0% in EU-28); it increased by 1.2 percentage points since 2008 ([16]Eurostat table une_rt_a [extracted 20.5.2019].).

 

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

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

 

Unemployment is distributed unevenly between those with low- and high-level qualifications. In Finland, the financial crisis had less impact on unemployment than in other European countries.

During the crisis there was only a slight increase in unemployment, and the difference between the unemployment rates of the three categories above remained quite stable.

Young people (15-24) with low qualifications (ISCED 0-2) are much more exposed to unemployment than older people who have more working experience. Higher level qualifications also mean less unemployment for young people.

The employment rate of VET graduates (age 20-34, ISCED levels 3 and 4) has increased since 2014 by 2.2 percentage points and reached 79.8% in 2018.

 

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

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

 

This increase was slower compared with the increase in employment for the same age group graduates of all education types (+2.5pp) in the same period ([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 Finland 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 Finland. Cedefop research paper; No 67. https://www.cedefop.europa.eu/files/finland_cedefop_changing_nature_of_vet_-_case_study.pdf

Completion of both upper secondary and tertiary studies is one of the objectives of national education policy. Finland has one of the highest shares of 25-64 year old people with higher education qualifications (43.7%) and one of the lowest shares with low qualifications (11.7%) in the EU.

 

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

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

 

Attainment of Finns aged 25 to 64 has increased significantly since 2000 and slightly more rapidly than in the EU-28 on average ([18]https://findikaattori.fi/en/). Since the 1990s the expansion of adult education and training, as well as the creation of the competence-based qualifications system, offered many ‘baby-boomers’ born after World War II an opportunity to complete a VET qualification.

For more information about VET in higher education in Finland please see the case study from Cedefop's changing nature and role of VET in Europe projectt [18a]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 Finland. Cedefop research paper; No 70. https://www.cedefop.europa.eu/files/finland_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

71.6%

100%

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

 

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

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

 

The male/female share in vocational upper secondary programmes is equal. In further qualification programmes, there are more females.

In 2017, 43% of all male VET students studied in one particular field, i.e. engineering, manufacturing and construction. Business and administration and services both accounted for 17% of all male VET students. Around one-third (31%) of women were enrolled in health and welfare, 20% in services and 25% in business, administration and law.

The share of early leavers from education and training was 8.3% in 2018. The share has decreased since 2009 by 1.6 percentage points (-3.6 percentage points in the EU) and it is very close to the national 2020 target of not more than 8%.

 

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].

 

The overall duration of education and training is influenced by delays at transition points ([19]For example, young graduates from upper secondary education at age of 19 cannot always enter higher education due to limited places available; they often apply several years in a row in order to enrol.) and the overall time spent in each programme. The latter is now being addressed by the new financing mechanism that gives more weight to the effectiveness of studies and is pushing towards timely acquisition of qualifications.

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

 

Participation in lifelong learning in 2014-18

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

 

Participation in lifelong learning is traditionally high in Finland. It has increased by 3.4 percentage points since 2014, reaching 28.5% in 2018. It is almost three times higher than the EU-28 average (11.1% in 2018).

VET is an important form of adult education. In 2016 almost 70% of those completing vocational upper secondary qualifications in Finland were under 25. Almost half of those taking further vocational qualifications completed their studies under the age of 35, and over half of those taking specialist vocational qualifications were over 40.

 

VET learners by age group in 2010-17

Source: Statistics Finland (Vipunen). https://vipunen.fi/

 

The share of adults (aged 25 and above) in initial and continuing VET has been increasing both in absolute numbers and proportionally. In the programme aiming for upper secondary vocational qualification the share of adults has been increasing and was 36% in 2017. In further qualification the share has varied between 81-86% and in specialist qualification it has remained roughly the same at 95%.

The education and training system comprises:

  • early childhood education and care (ISCED level 0);
  • pre-primary education (ISCED level 0);
  • primary education and lower secondary education; (ISCED levels 1 and 2), also called basic education;
  • optional additional year (ISCED level 2) (age 16);
  • Upper secondary education (ISCED level 3 and 4);
  • Tertiary education (ISCED levels 6, 7, and 8).

Early childhood education and care (varhaiskasvatus, småbarnsfostran) is not compulsory and participation requires the payment of a small fee. It is provided to children up to age six.

Pre-primary education (esiopetus, förskoleundervisning) is compulsory and it is provided to learners aged 6 years old.

Basic education (perusopetus, grundläggande utbildning) is compulsory. It is divided into primary education, provided in grades 1 to 6, to learners aged 7 to 12, and into lower secondary education, provided in grades 7 to 9, to students aged 13 to 16 years old.

The optional additional year is provided to students at age 16. Its purpose is to improve grades and to prepare for vocational education or familiarisation with the working life.

After basic education students can complete training preparing them for VET (ammatilliseen koulutukseen valmentava koulutus, utbildning som handleder för yrkesutbildning). This preparatory education and training provides students with capabilities for applying to VET, leading to qualifications, and fosters their preconditions for

completing qualifications. Preparatory education and

training for work and independent living (työhön ja itsenäiseen elämään valmentava koulutus, utbildning som handleder för arbete och ett självständigt liv) is available for those who need special support due to illness or injury. It provides students with instruction and guidance according to their personal goals and capabilities.

Upper secondary education (toisen asteen koulutus, utbildning på andra stadiet) is provided in grades 10 to 12, to students aged 17 to 19 years old. It is divided into general (lukiokoulutus, gymnasieutbildning), and vocational (ammatillinen koulutus, yrkesutbildning).

Tertiary education (korkeakoulutus, högskola) is provided by universities (yliopisto, universitet) and by universities of applied sciences (ammattikorkeakoulu, yrkeshögskola).

Promoting employment and self-employment are key elements of VET. Guided and goal-oriented studying at the

workplace is an essential part of VET. Studying at the workplace is either based on apprenticeship or on training agreement. Both can be flexibly combined. Learning at the workplace can be used to acquire competence in all vocational qualifications as well as promoting further training or supplementing vocational skills. Studying at the workplace can cover an entire degree, a module or a smaller part of the studies.

Initial VET (for young people) and continuing VET (for adults) are organised under the same legislation and principles ([20]https://www.finlex.fi/fi/laki/alkup/2017/20170531).

Initial VET (vocational upper secondary programmes) provides learners with vocational skills they need for entry- level jobs. It also supports learners’ growth into good and balanced individuals and members of society, and it provides them with the knowledge and skills needed for further studies and for the development of their personalities. A holder of a vocational upper secondary qualification has broad-based, basic vocational skills to work in different tasks in the chosen field, as well as more specialised competence and the vocational skills required for work in at least one section of the chosen field.

Continuing VET (further and specialist programmes) provides more comprehensive and specialised competences and requires labour market experience. They are mainly acquired by adults in employment with an IVET qualification; however, this is not a precondition for the taking of the qualification. A holder of a further vocational qualification has the vocational skills that meet work needs and that are more advanced or more specialised than what is required in the vocational upper secondary qualification. A holder of a specialist vocational qualification has vocational skills that meet work needs and that are highly advanced or multidisciplinary.

All programmes are competence-based. This means that completing a qualification does not depend on where and how competences have been acquired. All learners who have completed basic education may enrol in VET, but each provider decides the selection criteria. In some regions there is a competition for potential learners between general upper secondary and VET schools. VET often attracts more applicants than there are places available, especially in programmes in social services, health and sports, vehicle and transport technology, business and administration, electrical and automation engineering, and beauty care.

Study units (also known as modules)

All programmes leading to a qualification include vocational units:

• compulsory;

• optional.

In addition to the above, all initial vocational qualification programmes include units that consist of common, rather than specific, vocational competence:

• communication and interaction competence;

• mathematics and science competence;

• citizenship and working life competence.

The common units may be included in further and specialist qualifications but only if this is seen as necessary when making the personal competence development plan.

Key competences

Key competences help students to keep up with the changes in society and working life. In the wake of the 2018 VET reform (Vocational Education and Training Act 531, adopted in 2017 and in force since 2018), key competences are no longer addressed as a separate part of vocational competences. They have been modified so that key competences are included in all vocational skills requirements and assessment criteria. The key competences for lifelong learning are: digital and technological competence; mathematics and science competence; competence development; communication and interaction competence; competence for sustainable development; cultural competence; social and citizenship competence; and entrepreneurial competence.

Personal competence development plan

At the beginning of VET studies objectives for competence development are recorded in a personal competence development plan for each learner. A teacher draws up the plan together with a learner. An employer or another representative of a workplace or other cooperation partner may also participate in the preparation of the personal competence development plan, when required. The plan includes information on, for example, identification and recognition of prior learning, acquisition of missing skills, demonstrations of competence and of other skills, and the guidance and support needed. Prior learning acquired in training, working life or other learning environments has to be recognised as part of the qualification. The learner can also include units from general upper secondary curriculum, other vocational qualifications (incl. further vocational qualifications and specialist vocational qualifications) or degrees of universities of applied sciences in his personal competence development plan. The plan can be up-dated during the studies whenever necessary.

Work-based learning

Work-based learning (WBL) is provided mainly in real work environments (companies). If this is not possible, it can also be organised in school facilities.

The 2018 reform aimed to increase the share of work-based learning in VET by offering more flexibility in its organisation. All learners take part in WBL and any form of WBL (training agreement or apprenticeship training) may be taken by learners in any qualification programme. WBL may be provided during the whole programme duration and cover the whole qualification, a module/unit, or a smaller part of the programme. The most suitable method for a learner is agreed in the personal competence development plan.

The legislation does not stipulate a maximum or minimum amount of work-based learning but it strongly recommends that VET providers organise at least part of the learning at the workplace. The form of WBL may vary during the studies. A learner may transfer flexibly from a training agreement to apprenticeship training when the prerequisites for concluding an apprenticeship agreement are met (see Section 2.5.2). Work-based learning is guided and goal-oriented training at a workplace, allowing learners to acquire parts of the practical vocational skills included in the desired qualification.

Training agreement

This type of WBL can be offered in all initial and continuing VET programmes. At the very beginning of the training, the personal competence development plan shall be designed by the teacher/guidance counsellor, working life representative and the learner. The WBL periods are defined in this plan.

Learners are not in an employment relationship with the training company. They do not receive salary and employers do not receive any training compensation. But companies gladly recruit people with work experience. Within this system, the learners acquire some experience during their studies and the learner and the company get to know each other. It is possible to change from a training agreement to an apprenticeship training contract, if prerequisites for concluding an apprenticeship agreement are met.

A training agreement period can also be conducted abroad, as an exchange period, e.g. within the Erasmus+ programme or through other programmes or individual arrangements.

Apprenticeship training contract

Any qualification can be acquired through apprenticeship training – a work-based form of VET that is based on a written fixed-term employment contract (apprenticeship contract) between an employer and an apprentice, who must be at least 15 years old. Working hours are at least 25 hours per week. Apprenticeships have been used mainly in further and specialist vocational education. Since the 2018 reform, there is no indication in the legislation where the theoretical part should be acquired. In fact, the word ‘theory’ is no longer in use. Instead, ‘learning in the working place’ and ‘learning in other environments’ terminology applies. If the company is able to cover all the training needs, there is no need for the learner to attend a school venue at all. Learners themselves find work places for the training. The employer has no obligation to keep the apprentice employed after the training period is completed.

VET providers are responsible for initiating the contract. The demand and supply of contracts/work places are not always in balance. There are regional and field-specific differences but usually there are not enough apprenticeship places in companies.

Apprenticeship training is based on the requirements of the relevant qualification, according to which the learner’s personal competence development plan is drawn up. It considers the needs and requirements of the workplace and the learner. Approximately 70-80% of the time used for learning takes place in the workplace where the apprenticeship contract is concluded. Periods of theory and in-company training alternate but a common pattern does not exist; it is agreed in the personal competence development plan.

The employer pays the apprentice’s wages according to the relevant collective agreement for the period of workplace training. For the period of theoretical studies, learners receive social benefits, such as a daily allowance and allowances for accommodation and travel expenses. The education provider pays compensation to cover the costs of training provided in the workplace. The employer and VET institution agree on the amount of compensation before the training takes place; a separate contract is prepared for each learner.

At national level, the general goals for VET and the qualifications structure ([21]Qualification structure is a system of qualifications. It defines how many there are initial, further and specialist VET qualifications: their share, titles and competence points (total and for common units; their division within the qualification is decided by the Finnish National Agency for Education).) are determined by the Ministry of Education and Culture. The ministry also grants the licences for education provision. The Finnish National Agency for Education decides the national requirements of qualifications, detailing the goals and core content of each vocational qualification.

 

Main VET stakeholders

Source: Finnish National Agency for Education.

 

Vocational qualification requirements are developed in broad-based cooperation with stakeholders. The national qualification requirements have been based on a learning-outcomes approach since the early 1990s. Consequently, close cooperation with the world of work has been essential.

Cooperation with the world of work and other key stakeholders is carried out in order to ensure that qualifications support is flexible and promotes efficient transition to the labour market, as well as occupational development and career change. In addition to the needs of the world of work, development of VET and qualifications takes into account consolidation of lifelong learning skills, as well as the individuals’ needs and opportunities to complete qualifications flexibly to suit their own circumstances.

The Ministry of Education and Culture grants authorisations to VET providers, determining the fields of education in which they are allowed to provide education and training and their total learner numbers. VET providers determine which vocational qualifications and which study programmes within the specified fields of education will be organised at their vocational institutions.

To enhance the service capacity of VET providers, they have been encouraged to merge into regional or other strong entities. Across Finland, education providers cover all VET services and development activities. Thus, vocational institutions offer initial and continuing training both for young people and adult learners. Vocational institutions work in close cooperation with the labour market. Their role is to develop their own provision in cooperation with the labour market on the one hand, and to support competence development within small and medium-sized enterprises on the other. This strategy for vocational institutions has been a necessary means of ensuring and increasing the flexibility of education and training. Consequently, larger vocational institutions can offer enough vocational modules to ensure that learners can customise their programmes and choose studies that match changing needs for competences.

Vocational institutions can organise their activities freely, according to the requirements of their fields or their regions, and decide on their institutional networks and other services.

VET providers

Around 70% of VET providers are privately owned and 24% are owned by joint municipal authorities (Figure 10). There are 145 VET providers in total (Figure 10); this is considerably fewer than in 2006 as they have been strongly encouraged to merge. This cost-efficiency trend in education has been apparent since the mid-1990s. The ministry encourages VET providers towards voluntary mergers to ensure that all education providers have sufficient professional and financial resources to provide education.

 

VET providers by ownership

NB: Data as of 30 April 2019. In addition, there were 16 private VET providers who did not receive the licence, but can continue providing VET for a transitional period.
Source: Education Statistics Finland (Vipunen): https://vipunen.fi/

 

The most common types of VET provider are vocational institutions (owned by municipalities, industry and the service sector) ([22]Some VET providers are foundations or limited companies; they are categorised as ‘private’ but municipalities usually have shares in such companies/foundations.). They provide education and training to more than 75% of initial VET learners. Specialised (usually owned by one private company or association, e.g. car manufacturers) and special needs (usually owned by municipalities and associations, e.g. Organisation for Respiratory Health) vocational institutions, fire, police and security service institutions (national) and folk high schools, sports institutions, music schools and colleges (local) account for less than 10% of learners in initial VET. Vocational adult education centres (public and regional) mostly provide further and specialist VET.

Private vocational institutions operating under the 2018 VET Act are supervised by the Ministry of Education and Culture. Similar to public VET providers, they receive government subsidies and have the right to award official qualification certificates.

Out of 145 VET providers in total, there are 26 specialised vocational institutions, which are generally maintained by manufacturing and service sector enterprises. They are national private institutions, also referred to as ‘government dependent private institutions’, which provide training for their own needs outside the national qualifications structure described above, and which mainly focus on continuing training for their own staff. The specialised vocational institutions (also national private institutions) have been authorised by the Ministry of Education and Culture to provide education and training. Although these institutions receive state funding, most of the costs are covered by the owners of these enterprises (or by the enterprises responsible for them).

Current financing system

Education is publicly funded through public tax revenue at all levels. This has been perceived in Finland as being a means of guaranteeing equal education opportunities for the entire population irrespective of social or ethnic background, gender and place of residence. Funding criteria for receiving state funding are uniform for public and private VET providers.

Private funding only accounts for 2.6% of all education expenditure. Its share is slightly higher in upper secondary VET and higher education, but still remains below 5%.

Public funding is mainly provided by the State (30%) and local authorities (municipalities) (70%). VET providers decide on the use of all funds granted. In upper secondary VET, operating costs per learner vary between EUR 6 488 for all apprenticeships (companies cover most of the costs) to EUR 27 956 in special needs VET ([23]The most recent available data of 2017.).

In VET (excluding apprenticeships and special needs), funding varies by study field. Total VET funding is 1.5% from government spending and 13% from the spending of the Ministry of Education and Culture (2019).

 

Operating costs per learner in upper secondary VET by study field in 2012, 2014, 2017 (euros)

Source: Education Statistics Finland (Vipunen): https://vipunen.fi/

 

At the beginning of 2018, the unit price of apprenticeship training was increased to the same level as that of institution-based training. This is expected to encourage education providers to increase their offer of apprenticeship training. In addition, if the apprentice is a long-term unemployed jobseeker, lacks professional skills, or is disabled, the employer may also receive a state-funded pay subsidy.

The 2022 financing system for better performance

With the amendment to the Act on the Financing of the Provision of Education and Culture (532/2017) that entered into force at the beginning of 2018, a single coherent funding system was established for all VET programmes. The Act includes one uniform funding system for the provision of VET covering vocational upper secondary education and training, vocational further education and training, apprenticeship training and labour market training leading to a qualification (see Section 2.9.3). Funding criteria are uniform irrespective of the type of education provider.

The new system of funding is moving away from the current model of core funding and a very small element of performance funding (5%), towards one based on funding divided into core, performance and effectiveness and strategy.

 

Share of VET funding elements from 2022

Source: Ministry of Education and Culture; Finnish National Agency for Education (2018). Finnish VET in a nutshell. ISBN: 978-952-263-592-1.

 

  • 50% core funding is based on the number of students; it is important for forward planning and ensuring future provision of VET in all fields and for all students;
  • 35% performance funding is based on the number of completed qualifications and qualification units; it is meant to steer education providers to target education and qualifications in accordance with competence needs and to intensify study processes;
  • 15% effectiveness funding is based on students’ access to employment, pursuit of further education and feedback from both students and the labour market ([24]VET providers must collect these data. The system is not fully operational yet as the new financing system will be ready in 2022.); it aims to encourage education providers to redirect education to fields where labour is needed to ensure that education corresponds to the needs of the working life and that it is of high quality and provides the students with the competence to study further;
  • in addition, a relatively small amount of strategy funding (decided by parliament) will be made available; it is meant to support development and actions that are important from the education policy standpoint. It could be used, for example, for VET national development projects, skills competitions and developing education provider networks (e.g. mergers).

The new funding system will gradually be introduced and will be fully operational in 2022.

 

VET funding elements 2018-22 (%)

Source: Ministry of Education and Culture.

 

In VET, there are:

  • teachers of vocational units, teachers of common units, special needs teachers;
  • trainers.

Teaching is a popular profession in Finland. The popularity of vocational teacher education has been consistent over many years, largely because of the flexible arrangements for completing studies. While up to a third of the applicants are admitted annually, there are major variations between different fields.

Those who apply for a place in vocational teacher education are, on average, older than applicants of other forms of teacher education. This is because applicants are required to have prior work experience in their own field. The average age of applicants and those admitted as learners is approximately 40 years.

The proportion of women among applicants and teacher training learners has increased noticeably in recent years. Unlike in other teacher education programmes, it is more difficult for women than for men to gain a place in vocational teacher education. Regarding salaries and terms and conditions of employment, there are no remarkable differences between teachers in general education and VET.

Although there are no official data for trainers ([25]In-company trainers (nationally referred to as workplace instructors) are responsible for supervising learners during their on-the-job learning periods or apprenticeship training in enterprises.) on the attractiveness of their profession, the general impression is that trainers are generally satisfied with their training tasks. In many cases, they perceive more responsibilities and autonomy as recognition of their professionalism; time spent with young learners away from normal routine is also considered to be a reward. Trainers participate in the competence demonstrations involving trainers in learner assessment at the workplace. This assessment plays a significant role on learners’ final qualification certificates.

 

Teacher and trainer qualifications

Source: https://www.finlex.fi/fi/laki/ajantasa/1998/19980986#L5

 

First, teachers of vocational units must have an appropriate higher education degree in their own vocational sector. If such a degree does not exist, it can also be supplemented by the highest possible other qualification in the sector. One specific challenge has been to find qualified teachers in some fields. Another challenge is the sometimes limited shop floor experience of teachers with a university degree. In some fields, therefore now possible to acquire teaching qualifications by completing a specialist vocational qualification (ISCED 4) or some other qualification or training that provides solid competence in the field concerned.

Second, they have a pedagogical teacher training qualification with 60 ECTS credit points, and third, they need relevant work experience in their own field. Teachers of vocational units take teacher’s pedagogical studies at five vocational teacher education institutions (universities of applied sciences) while teachers of common units (such as languages and mathematics) generally complete them at universities.

The content of teacher training is updated continuously by vocational teacher education colleges. Teacher education institutions enjoy wide autonomy in deciding on their curricula and training arrangements. Legislation sets the qualification requirements, but only at a very general level.

Requirements for trainers

Trainers are generally experienced foremen and skilled workers. They frequently have a vocational or professional qualification but hold no pedagogical qualifications.

There are no formal qualifications requirements for trainers in Finland. Their participation in continuing professional development is also left completely up to them and their employers.

There are, however, training programmes available for trainers that follow national guidelines (as recommended by the Finnish National Agency for Education). According to the guidelines, training for trainers comprises three modules, providing participants with the capabilities required in order to: plan training at the workplace; provide vocational competence demonstrations; instruct VET learners and assess their learning; and impart vocational skills. The Finnish National Agency for Education recommends that, where possible, people acting as workplace trainers should participate in the training of trainers. VET education providers are responsible for providing the training.

There is also plenty of autonomy for continuing professional development (CPD) for VET teachers. The CPD obligation of teaching staff is defined partly in legislation and partly in the collective agreement negotiated between the Trade Union of Education in Finland and the employers’ organisation.

Most continuing training is provided free of charge and teachers enjoy full salary benefits during their participation. Funding responsibility rests with teachers’ employers, mainly local authorities. Training content is decided by individual employers and the teachers themselves.

The Parasta osaamista project set up a network for improving VET teacher’s CPD. It started in 2016 and is coordinated by Jyväskylä university. The aim of the project is to support education staff during the implementation of the 2017-2018 VET reform. Emphasis is put on developing coherent practices; unifying quality criteria; promoting competence-based and customer-oriented VET in cooperation with the world of work; mapping the competence needs of VET staff; developing tools and operational models for workplace learning; and the induction of workplace instructors.

The 2016 teacher education development programme (Opettajankoulutuksen kehittämisohjelma) also aims to adopt a systematic and coherent structure for teachers’ competence development during their careers. It is recommended that education institutions prepare competence development plans, which will be underpinned by strategic plans and evaluations of competence by education providers. Particular attention is being paid to building up the vocational skills of young teachers and their opportunities for receiving support. CPD, promoting the integration of Finnish language learning into the vocational studies, language awareness focused teaching and collaborative instruction, is being organised.

VET schools offer short courses/events to upskill workplace instructors in relation to various themes, such as how to guide special needs learners at the workplace. The Parasta osaamista project also offers support for workplace instructors.

More information is available in the Cedefop ReferNet thematic perspective on teachers and trainers ([26]http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/en/publications-and-resources/country-reports/teachers-and-trainers).

 

 

Skills anticipation activities are well established and linked to policy-making. For more than a decade, socio-economic factors such as the effects of the economic recession, the gradually decreasing labour force, and the ageing population have increased the need to improve the match between supply and demand skills. As a result, significant investment in skills anticipation has been undertaken by the government and its partners. The aim is to steer the education system – both VET and higher education – to meet the needs of the labour market.

At national level, the Finnish National Agency for Education, which operates under the auspices of the Ministry of Education and Culture, produces long-term (10+ years) national forecasts ([27]https://beta.oph.fi/fi/tilastot-ja-julkaisut/julkaisut/osaaminen-2035) on the demand for labour and education needs in support of decision-making. It is supported by the skills anticipation forum, established in early 2017. The Ministry of Education and Culture decides on study places by field of education (around 10). At regional level, councils anticipate skills needs in the municipalities in the region. The forecasting data is also used for guidance and employment counselling to provide information regarding future employment opportunities. The Finnish National Agency for Education also supports regional forecasting efforts, which are carried out under the supervision of regional councils. The goal is to steer the number of learner places in education and training provision to ensure that it matches developments in the demand for labour as closely as possible.

In general, there is a high degree of stakeholder involvement in skills anticipation activities. Major trade unions, employers, regional councils, and representatives of education institutions are involved in anticipation exercises. The responsibility of education providers for anticipating and responding to labour market changes has increased, as operational targeting and steering powers ([28]It means among other things that VET providers can decide within the limits of the licence received from Ministry of Education and Culture what qualifications and training programmes to offer.) have been devolved to universities, universities of applied sciences, and VET providers. Providers are required to play an active role in addressing the national/regional labour market skills needs.

In addition, a wide range of national and regional EU-funded anticipation and forecast projects are carried out by organisations such as research institutions, labour market and industry organisations, VET providers, universities and universities of applied sciences. In particular, regional anticipation activities have developed rapidly in the past decade. Key players in these activities include regional councils, the Centres for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment (ELY Centres), VET providers, and higher education institutions.

Governance and funding of the relevant exercises are the remit of three ministries (Education and Culture, Finance, Economic Affairs and Employment). These ministries engage in a variety of skills anticipation exercises, taking advantage of the long-term baseline forecasts of economic development produced by the Institute for Economic Research (Valtion Taloudellinen Tutkimuskeskus), a specialised state institution under the Ministry of Finance. The first regional anticipation projects were launched at the beginning of the 2000s. The ministries mostly finance development prognoses of branches, which also include the demand for labour.

Skills anticipation influences government policies on VET, higher education and adult education. Forecasts of future skills demand have an impact on decisions about education supply. Skills anticipation also has an impact on curriculum planning in VET and higher education institutions.

Dissemination of the data generated by skills anticipation exercises is an important element of the anticipation activity. The aim is to make the output from anticipation exercises accessible to a wide audience (policy-makers, employers, jobseekers and young people, etc.) through a range of channels including reports, workshops and online publications. Despite the focus on dissemination of skills anticipation data, there is a need to improve the user friendliness of the existing database to improve information for learners, job seekers and employers ([29]This section is based on Cedefop’s Skills Panorama (2017). Skills anticipation in Finland. Analytical highlights series.
http://skillspanorama.cedefop.europa.eu/en/analytical_highlights/skills-anticipation-finland
).

Quantitative anticipation

The Finnish National Agency for Education is responsible for quantitative anticipation. It has developed the Mitenna model for anticipating long-term demand for labour and educational needs. The model provides long-term data on changes in the demand for labour, natural wastage of labour ([30]A reduction in the number of employees, which is achieved by not replacing those who leave.), demand for skilled labour and educational needs. Quantitative anticipation is used to provide information on quantitative needs for vocationally and professionally oriented education and training in upper secondary vocational education and training, university of applied sciences education and university education. The focus is on anticipating the demand for labour over a period of circa 15 years ([31]Growth in competencies for Finland: proposed objectives for degrees and qualifications for the 2020s (Suomi osaamisen kasvu-uralle. Ehdotus tutkintotavoitteista 2020-luvulle).
http://julkaisut.valtioneuvosto.fi/handle/10024/75163
).

Qualitative anticipation

The Finnish National Agency for Education coordinated a project on future competences and skills, known as the VOSE project, between 2008 and 2012. The aim of this project was to create a process model for anticipating vocational competence and skills needs for the future (looking 10 to 15 years ahead).

The knowledge produced through the model serves different levels of education, including vocational, university of applied sciences and university education. Anticipatory knowledge may be utilised, for example, in the national core curriculum, in curriculum planning and the development of the content of education.

The development of the anticipation model has involved social partners representing the piloted sectors (the real estate and building sectors, the social, welfare and health care sectors and the tourism and catering sectors), representatives of research institutions and of various fields of education, as well as other experts in the sectors in question.

The anticipation model created in the VOSE project is now used in the qualitative anticipation of education and training. The model is used to anticipate the skills needs in 2 to 3 fields every year ([32]https://www.oph.fi/english/education_development/anticipation).

National forum for skills anticipation

The National Forum for Skills Anticipation (Osaamisen ennakointifoorumi) serves as a joint expert body in educational anticipation for the Ministry of Education and Culture and the Finnish National Agency for Education. The system consists of a steering group, anticipation groups and a network of experts. The task is to analyse changing competence and skills needs; their impact on the development of education on the basis of the anticipation data; and to promote the interaction of education and training with working life in cooperation with the Ministry and Finnish National Agency for Education. Anticipation groups consist of representatives of employers, employees, education providers, educational administrators, teaching staff and researchers in each field. Anticipation groups are involved in both qualitative and quantitative anticipation work. There are nine anticipation groups representing the following fields:

• natural resources, food production and the environment;

• business and administration;

• education, culture and communications;

• transport and logistics;

• hospitality services;

• built environment;

• social, health and welfare services;

• technology industry and services;

• process industry and production.

See also Cedefop’s skills forecast ([33]http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/en/publications-and-resources/data-visualisations/skills-forecast) and European Skills Index ([34]https://skillspanorama.cedefop.europa.eu/en/indicators/european-skills-index)

The VET curriculum system consists of the:

  • national qualification requirements;
  • education provider´s competence assessment plan;
  • learner`s personal competence development plan.

 

Designing VET qualifications

Source: Finnish National Agency for Education.

 

National qualification requirements

Before the 2018 reform, the national qualification requirements for different qualifications were often updated every five to 10 years on average or whenever necessary, either partially or completely. Since 2018, updating the qualifications became a continuous process based on the changing needs in the world of work and the results of anticipation of skill needs.

The starting point for updating a qualification may be changes in the skills needs in the labour market. These changes can lead to a change of the qualification requirements, or even the qualification structure, of initial, further and specialist vocational qualifications. Changes to the qualification structure also require qualification requirements to be renewed. The process of preparing a qualification requirements document usually takes one to two years.

Within the national qualifications framework (NQF), the Finnish National Agency for Education has placed upper secondary vocational qualifications and further vocational qualifications at level 4 (referenced to level 4 of the EQF) and specialist vocational qualifications at level 5. The ECVET system ([35]http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/en/events-and-projects/projects/european-credit-system-vocational-education-and-training-ecvet) was put into practice in Finland in 2014 and from the beginning of August 2018, in accordance with ECVET recommendations, vocational upper secondary qualifications have covered 180 credit points; further vocational qualifications 120, 150 or 180 credit points; and specialist vocational qualifications 160, 180 or 210 credit points. One year of full-time study corresponds to 60 credit points.

The qualification requirements are drawn up under the leadership of the Finnish National Agency for Education in tripartite cooperation with employers, employees and the education sector. Self-employed people are also represented in the preparation of qualification requirements in fields where self-employment is prevalent. The qualification requirements determine: the units included in the qualification; any possible specialisations made up of different units; selection of optional units in addition to compulsory ones; the vocational skills required for each qualification unit; the guidelines for assessment (targets and criteria of assessment); and the ways of demonstrating vocational skills.

The qualification requirements and the vocational competences form the basis for identifying the types of occupational work processes in which vocational skills for a specific qualification can be demonstrated and assessed.

When an update is initiated, the Finnish National Agency for Education sets up a qualification project, inviting experts representing employees, employers and teachers in the field to participate. In the course of its work, the expert group must also consult other experts in the world of work. Once the expert group has completed a draft version of the new qualification requirements, the document will be sent to representatives of unions, organisations, the world of work and VET providers for a broad consultation process. Following this process, the Finnish National Agency for Education adopts the qualification requirements as a nationally binding regulation.

The Finnish National Agency for Education determines the working life committee under which the specific qualification will fall, or establishes a new working life committee for the new qualification. Working life committees are tripartite bodies consisting of employers and employees’ representatives, teachers and self-employed people. They play a key role in the quality assurance of VET. They ensure the quality of the implementation of competence demonstrations and competence assessment and develop the VET qualifications structure and qualification requirements.

Vocational qualifications are structured in a modular way. These modules comprise units of work or activities found in the world of work. Each vocational qualification unit is a specific occupational area, which can be separated into an independent and assessable component. The vocational skills requirements determined for each qualification unit focus on the core functions of the occupation, mastery of operating processes and the occupational practices of the field in question. These also include skills generally required in working life, such as social skills and key competences for lifelong learning. All qualification requirements share a common structure.

The targets of assessment defined in the qualification requirements indicate those areas of competence on which special attention is focused during assessment. The criteria for assessment have been derived from the vocational skills requirements. The assessment criteria determine the grades awarded for units in upper secondary vocational qualifications and the standard of an acceptable performance in further and specialist qualifications. The section entitled ‘Ways of demonstrating vocational skills’ describes how candidates are to demonstrate their vocational skills in vocational demonstrations.

The qualifications requirements adopted by the Finnish National Agency for Education are published in electronic form on the Finnish National Agency for Education website.

Competence assessment plans

Competence assessment plans are prepared by the respective education provider for each training programme or qualification. The plan details the guidelines and procedures adopted by the education provider regarding the implementation of competence assessment. The plan includes how the following aspects are to be carried out (who does what, how, where it is registered and how the student, staff and stakeholders ([36]Teachers, guidance and counselling staff and assessors of competence.) are informed): recognition of prior learning; demonstration of competence; skills assurance before the demonstration of competence; assessment; certification; preparatory programme planning; and monitoring the implementation of the plan itself.

The competence assessment plan is used by teachers, guidance personnel and assessors of competence. The feasibility of the plan is self-monitored and self-assessed by VET providers as part of their quality assurance system. The plan is attached to the application for a licence to provide VET.

Learner personal competence development plan

At the beginning of VET studies objectives for competence development are recorded in a personal competence development plan for each learner. A teacher draws up the plan together with a learner. An employer or another representative of a workplace or other cooperation partner may also participate in the preparation of the personal competence development plan, when required. The plan includes information on, for example, identification and recognition of prior learning, acquisition of missing skills, competence demonstrations and other demonstration of skills, and the guidance and support needed. Prior learning acquired in training, working life or other learning environments has to be recognised as part of the qualification. The learner can also include units from general upper secondary curriculum, other vocational qualifications (incl. further vocational qualifications and specialist vocational qualifications) or degrees of universities of applied sciences in their personal competence development plan. The plan can be up-dated during the studies whenever necessary.

Involvement of the world of work in developing qualification requirements and quality in VET

The representatives of the world of work participate in the anticipation of skills and education needs both nationally and regionally, for example through anticipation groups, advisory committees and through consultation processes. They participate in drawing up the qualification requirements at national level and they are represented in working life committees.

At regional level the representatives from enterprises participate in the organisation and planning of training and skills demonstrations, regional committees as well as assessment of skills demonstrations. This allows continuous feedback from the world of work.

In 2017, the former 30 national education and training committees were replaced by nine anticipating groups representing different vocational fields (see Section 3.1.3). Members of these groups are representatives of employers, employees and self-employed entrepreneurs, as well as VET providers, higher education institutions, teaching staff, researchers and educational administration. The anticipating groups are appointed until 2020. Their tasks include:

• analysing changing and new competence and skills needs of working life and their implications for different levels of education;

• offering recommendations for the development of VET programmes;

• strengthening cooperation between upper secondary VET and higher education;

  • providing public authorities with recommendations on new development needs and cooperation between the world of work and education.

Continuous improvement of VET quality is a key priority in Finland. The following activities are essential when assuring that vocational education and training meets the requirements of the world of work.

 

Stakeholder roles in assuring VET quality

Source: Finnish National Agency for Education.

 

The quality assurance of VET consists of VET provider´s own quality management, national VET steering and external evaluation.

VET legislation sets the frame for VET providers’ operations. The law requires that the VET provider is responsible for the quality of qualifications and programmes offered and for their constant improvement. VET providers have to have a functional quality assurance system in place. According to the law, they must evaluate the quality, effectiveness (employability, pursuit of further education and feedback from learners and working life) and ‘profitability’ (i.e. how well the operations have met the needs of the learner and the world of work, and have the resources been used in an optimal way) of the qualifications, programmes and other operations. The purpose of VET provider self-evaluation is to recognise strengths and targets to be developed. The ministry offers non-compulsory criteria for self-evaluation to support the process.

The national VET steering includes legislation and regulations related to financing and qualification requirements. It also includes quality strategy, quality award competition, government subsidies for quality improvement, supporting materials produced by the ministry and the agency and criteria for self- and peer evaluation.

According to the VET legislation, VET providers also have to participate regularly in external evaluations of their operations and quality management systems and publish the main results of those evaluations. External evaluation includes the quality assurance of competence demonstrations and competence assessment made by the working life committees and evaluations made by the Finnish Education Evaluation Centre.

Supervision of qualifications

Working life committees are responsible for the supervision of qualifications. Their aim is to ensure the quality and working life orientation of VET. They are statutory bodies of elected officials, appointed by the Finnish National Agency for Education to manage a public duty.

The committees’ duties are:

• ensuring the quality of the implementation of competence demonstrations and assessment;

• participating in the development of qualification structure and vocational qualifications;

• processing learners’ rectification requests concerning competence assessments.

Working life committee members handle these tasks for three years, in addition to their regular duties. A maximum of nine members may be appointed to each working life committee. They must represent employers, employees, teachers and, if self-employment is common within the sector in question, self-employed professionals. There are 39 working life committees. Each working life committee is responsible for one or more qualifications. Working life committees participate in developing the qualification structure and in designing the qualification requirements. They also participate in quality assurance of skills demonstrations and assessment through national feedback, follow-up and evaluation data, and may also visit the skills demonstrations events, when necessary. Finally, they handle the requests related to the rectification of assessment.

Quality assurance of VET providers

The legislation on VET gives education providers a great deal of freedom in deciding on the measures concerning their education provision, use of public funding and quality management. The legislation obliges the providers to evaluate their training provision and its effectiveness as well as to participate in external evaluations. This means that the education providers need to have their own operating system that contains relevant and functional quality management measures (selected by VET providers).

Self-evaluation and external evaluation supports VET providers’ continuous improvement and results-oriented performance. Through evaluation, providers obtain information about major strengths and development needs. VET providers monitor, assess and analyse results achieved systematically through means such as surveys, quantitative indicators and self-evaluation. In VET, data and information are most often collected through queries ([37]VET provider collects feedback from learners twice: at the beginning of studies and at the end.) and assessments of learning outcomes. The VET provider collects the feedback from learners and saves the learners´ answers in the online system that has been developed for this purpose. The Ministry of Education and Culture and the Finnish National Agency for Education have access to the results.

External evaluation of training is frequently ([38]The term used in the legislation.) carried out, for example, by the Finnish Education Evaluation Centre. Internal audits, benchmarking and peer reviews are other methods employed in evaluation.

Learner feedback

Starting from 2020, one sixth of effectiveness-based funding will be granted to VET providers based on the feedback from learners. The feedback is collected via a centrally designed questionnaire which learners answer twice: at the beginning of the studies and at the end, once the learner has demonstrated all the skills and competences needed for the qualification. Learner feedback and its collection are regulated in the legislation.

In the questionnaire, the learners respond to statements rating them on a five-point scale from one (strongly disagree) to five (strongly agree). At the beginning of their studies learners are required to rate statements relating to the following themes: flexibility of starting time of studies and content of the individual programme; accreditation of prior learning; and support and guidance needed. At the end of their studies, learners give feedback concerning the following themes: flexibility in studies; the ways in which teaching facilities and the learning environment supported studies; receiving support and guidance during studies; equity between learners and workers at the workplace; opportunities to study and learn in the workplace; gaining of entrepreneurial competence; and assessment of their individual competence and readiness for the working life and further studies.

New quality assurance guidelines

The new quality assurance guidelines are currently being discussed by stakeholders to be published by the end of 2019. Since 2011, VET quality strategy has been in place, drawn up by the Ministry of Education and Culture. The 2018 reformed system has increased the significance of the quality management, together with the providers’ role in managing VET. The new strategy is supposed to cover all parts of the national quality assurance system:

• VET providers’ quality management;

• national steering of VET;

• external evaluation of VET;

except the method that VET providers may select themselves.

Validation of non-formal and informal learning has relatively long and established roots in Finland and the legislation and policies are well developed and detailed. However, there is no one single law for this; laws and regulations for each field of education define validation separately. These fields include general upper secondary education, vocational education and training (including continuing VET), and higher education. The core message of the legislation is that validation of non-formal and informal learning is a subjective right of the individual and the competences of an individual should be validated regardless of when and where they have been acquired. Validation is based either on:

• documentation presented; or

• competence demonstration.

The Vocational Upper Secondary Education and Training Decree (673/2017) defines the principles for recognising prior learning. Each student´s personal competence development plan must include recognition of prior learning. Prior learning acquired in training, working life or other learning environments has to be recognised as part of the qualification. The recognition of prior learning must be done in all VET qualifications: in vocational, further and specialist qualifications.

Equal opportunities are a long-standing fundamental principle of the Finnish education policy. The background of learners, including their financial circumstances, should not be a barrier to participation in education. Most education provision is publicly funded and free for learners from pre- primary to higher education levels. In addition, financial support for learners of all ages is available.

Financial support for full-time learners

Financial support is available for full-time VET learners. The main forms of support are study grants, housing supplements with transport subsidy and government guarantees for student loans. The first two of these are government-financed monthly benefits, while student loans are granted by banks.

Study grants

A study grant is available as soon as eligibility for child benefit finishes at the age of 17. The monthly amount before tax ([39]Learners pay taxes from their allowances if they receive income from other source(s).) is between EUR 38.50 and 249.01 depending on the age, marital status and type of accommodation.

Housing supplement and transport subsidy

The housing supplement covers 80% of the rent, but may not exceed EUR 201.60 per month. In addition, school transport subsidy is available when the distance between home and school exceeds 10 km and the monthly cost of travel is at least 54 euro.

Government guarantees for student loans

The government guarantees that student loans (with some exceptions) are available to learners who are receiving a study grant. A loan guarantee can, however, also be granted to learners, who are not receiving a study grant, if they live with their parent and they are 18–19 years of age and attend a secondary level education institution, or if they are under 17 and live alone.

Student loans are available from banks operating in Finland. The lending bank will check the loan guarantee details with the social insurance institution of Finland (Kansaneläkelaitos or Kela) when granting a loan. Interest, repayment and other terms and conditions applying to the loan are agreed between the bank and the learner. The amount of the loan is EUR 300 per month (in secondary education for learners under age 18) or EUR 650 per month (in secondary education for learners of age 18 or older )

Learning material supplement

Although upper secondary education is free of charge, learners are required to buy their own learning materials (for instance, books, toolsets and any other materials). A learning material supplement of EUR 46.80 per month (equal to approximately EUR 1 400 for three semesters) is to be granted from August 2019 onwards for VET learners if they are:

  • between age 17 and 19 and living with their parents/guardians;
  • 17 years old and living on their own; or
  • under age 17 and their parents’ annual income is less than EUR 41 100.

Study leave for employees

All employees in a contractual and public service employment relationship are entitled to study leave when the full-time employment relationship with the same employer has lasted for at least one year ([40]In one or multiple periods.). The maximum length of study leave with the same employer is two years over a period of five years. If the employment has lasted for less than a year, but for at least three months, the maximum length of study leave is five days.

The studies must be subject to public supervision. The study leave is unpaid unless otherwise agreed with the employer.

Employment Fund support for adult learners

The Employment Fund administered by social partners of the Finnish labour market supports employees’ professional development leading to a qualification. In 2015, the Employment Fund granted EUR 157 million in adult education allowances and scholarships for qualified employees.

Adult education allowance

An adult education allowance is available to employees and self-employed people who wish to go on a study leave for at least two months. The allowance is a legal right and can be granted to an applicant who has a working history of at least eight years (or at least five years by 31 July 2010), and who has been working for the same employer for at least one year. To qualify for the allowance, the applicant must participate in studies leading to a qualification or in further vocational training organised by a Finnish education institution under public supervision. The duration of the allowance is determined on the basis of the applicant’s working history and ranges from 2 to 15 months. Since 1 August 2010, the amount of the allowance has been equal to the amount of the earnings-related unemployment allowance. For example, in 2019, on the basis of a monthly salary of EUR 2 000, a learner will receive a gross education allowance of EUR 1 185.34 ([41]https://www.tyollisyysrahasto.fi/en/benefits-for-adult-students/full-adult-education-allowance/).

Scholarships for qualified employees

A scholarship is available for those who have completed a vocational, further or specialist qualification. The amount of the one-time scholarship is EUR 390 and it is tax-free. The scholarship must be applied for within a year after completing the qualification.

Depending on the agreement between employer and employee, an employer who takes on an apprentice may receive training compensation to cover the costs of training provided at the workplace. The amount of compensation to be paid to the employer is agreed separately with employer and VET provider as part of each apprenticeship contract. Average training compensation varies between EUR 100-200 per month for initial VET qualification and EUR 10-100 per month for continuing VET. It is funded by the municipal funds and is paid either by the local apprenticeship centre or the education institution providing apprenticeship training.

Guidance and counselling start at the beginning of basic education and continue through all education levels. The guidance and counselling provided within the education system are complemented by guidance services offered by public employment offices.

In upper secondary VET, guidance counsellors play a key role in coordinating, planning and implementing guidance and counselling. VET learners have a right to receive guidance and every VET provider has a guidance counsellor available (providers can share this service).

Teachers also play a big role in giving guidance for learners. But guidance is also an integral part of the work of all teachers. A teacher’s task is to guide and motivate the learners to complete their qualifications, support them in the planning of their further studies, help them to find their strengths and develop their learning skills. Guidance and counselling should enable all pupils to reach the best results possible for them. In the workplace, guidance is coordinated by a qualified trainer.

Teachers working as guidance counsellors in Finnish schools must have a teacher training qualification at Master’s level, supplemented by studies in guidance and counselling.

The topics covered by guidance and counselling include different education and training options and the development of learners’ capabilities to make choices and solutions concerning education, training and future career. Educational support and guidance also covers areas such as support for learning according to the individual capacity of the learners, school attendance and learner welfare.

There have been few major changes in guidance and counselling in recent years but, within the 2018 VET reform, the role of guidance and counselling has been emphasised. VET was made more individual and flexible for learners.

Learners’ individual needs and existing competences are taken into account in all vocational studies. A personal competence development plan is prepared for each learner. The plan is drawn up by the teacher or guidance counsellor together with the learner and, when applicable, a representative from the world of work. The plan identifies and recognises the skills previously acquired by the learner and outlines what kind of competences the learner needs and how they will be acquired in different learning environments.

In addition to guidance and counselling related to learning methods and practices, the personal competence development plan includes information on necessary supportive measures. The support received by a learner may include special teaching and study arrangements due to learning difficulties, injury or illness, or studies supporting learning abilities.

Please also see:

Vocational education and training system chart

Tertiary

Programme Types
Not available

Post-secondary

Click on a programme type to see more info
Programme Types

EQF 5

Specialist VET,

WBL varies

ISCED 454

Work-based specialist VET, tailored individually, leading to EQF level 5, ISCED 454 (Erikoisammattitutkinto)
EQF level
5
ISCED-P 2011 level

454

Usual entry grade

12+

Usual completion grade

12+

Usual entry age

19+

Usual completion age

19+

Length of a programme (years)

The duration depends on a person´s prior learning; usually it is less than 2 years ([59]Duration depends on the prior learning of the student, especially in the case of further and specialist vocational programmes, and is defined in the personal competence development plan of each learner.)

  
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?

It is possible to collect moderate student fees; on average 15% of the costs of the training.

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits
Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)
  • training agreement;
  • apprenticeship;
  • programmes that comprise work-based learning but are not apprenticeships or fall under a training agreement category.
Main providers

The most common type of VET providers is vocational institutions (owned by municipalities, industry and service sector) ([61]Some VET providers are foundations or limited companies; they are categorised as ‘private’ but municipalities usually have shares in such companies/foundations.). They provide education and training to more than 75% of initial VET learners. Specialised (usually owned by one private company or association, e.g. a car manufacturer) and special needs (usually owned by municipalities and associations, e.g. Organisation for Respiratory Health) vocational institutions, fire, police and security service institutions (national) and folk high schools, sports institutions, music schools and colleges (local) account for less than 10% of learners in initial VET. Vocational adult education centres (public and regional) mostly provide further and specialist VET.

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

The share of work-based learning (WBL) is individually planned for each learner in the personal competence development plan.

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

Specialist vocational qualifications (continuing VET) are for adults who usually have work experience or other prior learning.

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

Admission to further vocational qualifications is decided on a case-by-case basis, taking work experience into consideration. However, work experience or prior qualifications are not a precondition for enrolling.

Assessment of learning outcomes

No final examinations exist in VET. Once learners successfully complete all the studies included in their personal competence development plans, the VET provider grants a certificate for the entire qualification or for one or more units of the qualification. All VET programmes ensure eligibility for higher education studies.

Diplomas/certificates provided

The national qualification requirements define the required vocational competence, principles of assessment and how the competence is demonstrated. They are drawn up by the Finnish National Agency for Education in cooperation with working life partners ([62]Representatives of the employees/self-employed and employers (altogether called ‘working life’ in Finland).).

Each qualification has a number of competence points:

  • 180 for initial/upper secondary vocational qualifications;
  • 120/150/180 for further vocational qualifications;
  • 160/180/210 specialist vocational qualifications.
Examples of qualifications

Specialist vocational qualification in horse care and management ([63]The specialist vocational qualification in horse care and management comprises four competence areas and qualification titles (in parentheses):
- managing horse stables operations (head groom);
- working as a specialist in farriery (farrier (SQ));
- equestrian sports management (equestrian sports manager);
- riding instruction (riding instructor (SQ)).
)

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Graduates can:

  • enter the labour market
    • employed full time
    • employed and in education;
  • continue with further education.
Destination of graduates

NB: 2016 data (most recent).
Source: Education Statistics Finland (Vipunen): https://vipunen.fi/

Awards through validation of prior learning

Y

The Vocational Upper Secondary Education and Training Decree (673/2017([64]https://www.finlex.fi/fi/laki/alkup/2017/20170673)) defines the principles for recognising prior learning. Each student´s personal competence development plan must include recognition of prior learning. Prior learning acquired in training, working life or other learning environments has to be recognised as part of the qualification. The recognition of prior learning must be done in all VET qualifications: in vocational, further and specialist qualifications.

General education subjects

N

All programmes leading to a qualification include vocational study units:

  • basic and field-specific study unit(s) (compulsory);
  • specialised study units (compulsory and optional);
  • communication and interaction competence;
  • mathematics and science competence;
  • citizenship and working life competence.

The common units may be included in further and specialist qualifications but only if this is seen as necessary when making the personal competence development plan.

Key competences

N

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

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

Secondary

Click on a programme type to see more info
Programme Types

EQF 4

Initial VET programmes

WBL varies

ISCED 354

Mainly school-based VET programmes (also available as apprenticeship) leading to EQF level 4, ISCED 354 (Ammatillinen perustutkinto)
EQF level
4
ISCED-P 2011 level

354

Usual entry grade

10

Usual completion grade

12

Usual entry age

16

Usual completion age

19

Length of a programme (years)

3 ([44]Duration depends on the prior learning of the student, especially in the case of further and specialist vocational programmes, and is defined in the personal competence development plan of each learner.)

  
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
Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)
  • training agreement;
  • apprenticeship;
  • programmes that comprise work-based learning but are not apprenticeships or fall under training agreement category.
Main providers

The most common type of VET provider is vocational institutions (owned by municipalities, industry and service sector) ([46]Some VET providers are foundations or limited companies; they are categorised as ‘private’ but municipalities usually have shares in such companies/foundations.). They provide education and training to more than 75% of initial VET learners. Specialised (usually owned by one private company or association, e.g. a car manufacturer) and special needs (usually owned by municipalities and associations, e.g. Organisation for Respiratory Health) vocational institutions, fire, police and security service institutions (national) and folk high schools, sports institutions, music schools and colleges (local) account for less than 10% of learners in initial VET. Vocational adult education centres (public and regional) mostly provide further and specialist VET.

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

=70-80% ([47]The share of work-based learning (WBL) is individually planned for each learner in the personal competence development plan.)

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

A vocational upper secondary qualification (initial VET) is designed for young people who may not have any work experience and for adults who, for example, don´t have any formal qualification or who want to change their profession.

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

Admission to initial VET programmes requires a basic education graduation certificate.

Assessment of learning outcomes

No final examinations exist in VET. Once learners successfully complete all the studies included in their personal competence development plans, the VET provider grants a certificate for the entire qualification or for one or more units of the qualification. All VET programmes ensure eligibility for higher education studies.

Diplomas/certificates provided

The national qualification requirements define the required vocational competence, principles of assessment and how the competence is demonstrated. They are drawn up by the Finnish National Agency for Education in cooperation with working life ([48]Representatives of the employees/self-employed and employers (altogether called ‘working life’ in Finland).).

Each qualification has a number of competence points:

  • 180 for initial/upper secondary vocational qualifications;
  • 120/150/180 for further vocational qualifications;
  • 160/180/210 for specialist vocational qualifications.
Examples of qualifications

Initial vocational qualification in horse care and management ([49]Qualification holders manage daily stable maintenance and horse care tasks and are able to carry out the essential maintenance tasks associated with horse care, such as care of hooves and tack. In addition to basic competence in the field, qualification holders have specialist skills to work either as a groom or a riding instructor in various sectors of the horse industry.The qualification titles produced by the vocational qualification in horse care and management are groom and riding instructor.)

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Graduates can:

  • enter the labour market
    • employed full-time
    • employed and in education;
  • continue with further education.
Destination of graduates

NB: 2016 data (most recent).
Source: Education Statistics Finland (Vipunen): https://vipunen.fi/

Awards through validation of prior learning

Y

The Vocational Upper Secondary Education and Training Decree (673/2017([50]https://www.finlex.fi/fi/laki/alkup/2017/20170673)) defines the principles for recognising prior learning. Each student´s personal competence development plan must include recognition of prior learning. Prior learning acquired in training, working life or other learning environments has to be recognised as part of the qualification. The recognition of prior learning must be done in all VET qualifications: in vocational, further and specialist qualifications.

General education subjects

Y

All programmes leading to a qualification include vocational study units:

  • basic and field-specific study unit(s) (compulsory);
  • specialised study units (compulsory and optional).

In addition to the above, all initial vocational qualification programmes include study units that consist of common rather than specific vocational competence:

  • communication and interaction competence;
  • mathematics and science competence;
  • citizenship and working life competence.

The common units may be included in further and specialist qualifications but only if this is seen as necessary when making the personal competence development plan.

Key competences

Y

Key competences help students to keep up with the changes in society and working life. In the wake of the 2018 VET reform, key competences are no longer addressed as a separate part of vocational competence. They have been modified so that key competences are included in all vocational skills requirements and assessment criteria.

The key competences for lifelong learning are: digital and technological competence; mathematics and science competence; competence development; communication and interaction competence; competence for sustainable development; cultural competence; social and citizenship competence; and entrepreneurial competence.

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

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

The share of vocational upper secondary (IVET) learners in 2017 was 73% of all VET learners ([51]https://vipunen.fi/en-gb/_layouts/15/xlviewer.aspx?id=/en-gb/Reports/Ammatillinen%20koulutus%20-%20opiskelijat%20-%20aikasarja_EN.xlsb).

EQF 4

Further VET,

WBL varies

ISCED 354

Work-based further VET, tailored individually, leading to EQF level 4, ISCED 354 (ammattitutkinto)
EQF level
4
ISCED-P 2011 level

354

Usual entry grade

12+

Usual completion grade

12+

Usual entry age

19+

Usual completion age

19+

Length of a programme (years)

The duration depends on a person´s prior learning; usually it is less than 2 years ([52]Duration depends on the prior learning of the student, especially in the case of further and specialist vocational programmes, and is defined in the personal competence development plan of each learner.)

  
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?

It is possible to collect moderate student fees; on average 15% of the costs of the training.

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits
Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)
  • training agreement;
  • apprenticeship;
  • programmes that comprise work-based learning but are not apprenticeships or fall under a training agreement category.
Main providers

The most common type of VET providers is vocational institutions (owned by municipalities, industry and service sector) ([54]Some VET providers are foundations or limited companies; they are categorised as ‘private’ but municipalities usually have shares in such companies/foundations.). They provide education and training to more than 75% of initial VET learners. Specialised (usually owned by one private company or association, e.g. a car manufacturer) and special needs (usually owned by municipalities and associations, e.g. Organisation for Respiratory Health) vocational institutions, fire, police and security service institutions (national) and folk high schools, sports institutions, music schools and colleges (local) account for less than 10% of learners in initial VET. Vocational adult education centres (public and regional) mostly provide further and specialist VET.

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

The share of work-based learning (WBL) is individually planned for each learner in the personal competence development plan.

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

Further vocational qualifications (continuing VET) are for adults who usually have work experience or other prior learning.

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

Admission to further vocational qualifications is decided on a case-by-case basis, taking work experience into consideration. However, work experience or prior qualifications are not a precondition for enrolling.

Assessment of learning outcomes

No final examinations exist in VET. Once learners successfully complete all the studies included in their personal competence development plans, the VET provider grants a certificate for the entire qualification or for one or more units of the qualification. All VET programmes ensure eligibility for higher education studies.

Diplomas/certificates provided

The national qualification requirements define the required vocational competence, principles of assessment and how the competence is demonstrated. They are drawn up by the Finnish National Agency for Education in cooperation with working life ([55]Representatives of the employees/self-employed and employers (altogether called ‘working life’ in Finland)).

Each qualification has a number of competence points:

  • 180 for initial/upper secondary vocational qualifications;
  • 120/150/180 for further vocational qualifications;
  • 160/ 180/210 specialist vocational qualifications.
Examples of qualifications

Further vocational qualification in horse care and management ([56]The further vocational qualification in horse care and management comprises eight competence areas and seven qualification titles (in parentheses): provision of equine-assisted services (provider of equine services); provision of horse breeding service (same as previous); provision of equine massage services (horse massage therapist); farriery (farrier); tack-making (tack-maker); riding instruction (riding instructor (FQ) ); training and coaching riding horses (trainer of young riding horses); provision of training services in harness racing (trainer of trotters).)

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Graduates can:

  • enter the labour market
    • employed full time
    • employed and in education;
  • continue with further education.
Destination of graduates

NB: 2016 data (most recent).
Source: Education Statistics Finland (Vipunen): https://vipunen.fi/

Awards through validation of prior learning

Y

The Vocational Upper Secondary Education and Training Decree (673/2017([57]https://www.finlex.fi/fi/laki/alkup/2017/20170673)) defines the principles for recognising prior learning. Each student´s personal competence development plan must include recognition of prior learning. Prior learning acquired in training, working life or other learning environments has to be recognised as part of the qualification. The recognition of prior learning must be done in all VET qualifications: in vocational, further and specialist qualifications.

General education subjects

N

All programmes leading to a qualification include vocational study units:

  • basic and field-specific study unit(s) (compulsory);
  • specialised study units (compulsory and optional);
  • communication and interaction competence;
  • mathematics and science competence;
  • citizenship and working life competence.

The common units may be included in further and specialist qualifications but only if this is seen as necessary when making the personal competence development plan.

Key competences

N

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

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

VET available to adults (formal and non-formal)

Programme Types
Not available