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General themes

VET in Portugal comprises the following main features:

  • Permeability (horizontal and vertical) between different VET programmes and between general education and VET programmes.
  • All VET programmes grant double certification: an education certificate and a professional qualification.
  • Participation in upper secondary education has significantly increased, since 2005.
  • Early leaving from education and training has been steadily decreasing, since 2008.

Distinctive features ([1]Adapted from Cedefop (2018). Spotlight on vocational education and training in Portugal. Luxembourg: Publications Office.
http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/files/8119_en.pdf
)

Key principles of VET provision are the wide range of programmes accessible to young people and adults, the link between VET provision and labour market needs, and flexibility in type and duration of courses for adults. VET learners have the possibility to access programmes at higher levels or higher education. Credits achieved in post-secondary level programmes may be recognised when applying to a higher education programme in the same field of study. Permeability is secured for adults older than 23 by offering them an access to higher education through recognition of previous training and professional experience. Accrediting of publicly funded VET providers and trainers is mandatory and, along with their external evaluations, ensures quality of VET.

The national qualifications system (SNQ) ([2]Decreto-Lei (Decree-Law) n.º 396/2007, de 31 de Dezembro (link to the consolidated legislation).) promotes upper secondary education as the minimum level of attainment, expanding IVET options and flexible learning paths for adults. The SNQ adopted a governance model based on involvement of the different VET providers, sector councils, and social partners, establishing common objectives and instruments. Tools that support SNQ are:

High on the policy agenda are the following challenges:

  • further reducing early leaving from education and training and discourage the entry of unqualified young people into the labour market;
  • increasing adult educational attainment by widening access to learning through modularisation;
  • improving tutor support to learners and reasserting the value of transferable skills in the curricula, in order to tackle education and training failure;
  • modernising learning provision through new teaching methods and wider variety of VET courses leading to competence-based qualifications;
  • offering initial and continuing VET provision in line with labour market requirements;
  • upskilling vulnerable groups and promoting their socio-professional integration.

Policy initiatives have resulted in an increase in upper secondary VET programmes, ensuring that VET programmes lead to double certification, and boosting the RVCC system ([7]Reconhecimento, validação e certificação de competências (recognition, validation and certification of competences)
) development. National authorities are also implementing measures for adults through the Qualifica programme ([8]A programme developed to promote investment in training pathways that will lead to the effective qualification of learners, especially focused on the improvement of adult qualification or employability. Decreto-Lei (Decree-law) n.º 14/2017 de 26 de janeirohttps://www.qualifica.gov.pt/#/programaQualifica 
) and assuring the continuity of lifelong learning policies, through the reinforcement of specialised Qualifica centres, launched in 2016. They target people over 18 years old who seek a qualification, guiding those who are low-skilled to RVCC processes. They provide guidance, counselling for young people (aged 15 or older), especially for NEETs ([9]Not in education, employment or training.), as well as increasing proximity to target populations.

Data adapted from VET in Portugal Spotlight 2018 ([10]Cedefop (2018). Spotlight on vocational education and training in Portugal. Luxembourg: Publications Office.
http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/files/8119_en.pdf
).

Population in 2018: 10 291 027 ([11]NB: Data for population as of 1 January. Eurostat table tps00001 [extracted 16.5.2019].)

It decreased since 2013 by 1.9% due to negative natural growth ([12]NB: Data for population as of 1 January. Eurostat table tps00001 [extracted 16.5.2019].).

Population is ageing; Portugal is the fourth country with the highest proportion of elderly in the EU.

An old-age-dependency ratio is expected to increase from 31 in 2015 to 65 in 2060 ([13]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].

 

 

 

Most companies are micro and small-sized. In 2017 the share of individual enterprises was 68.0% ([14]INE (2019).
Empresas em Portugal - 2017.
).

 

Enterprises by class size (%)

 

 

Main economic sectors:

  • commerce;
  • services;
  • construction & real estate activities;
  • agriculture and fisheries.

Since 2011, Portugal made major reforms deregulating professions. In 2019, there are 238 professions and 43 competent authorities registered in the database of the European Commission.

In 2015, a legal framework ([15]Decreto-Lei (Decree-Law) n.º 37/2015, de 10 de março.) was adopted establishing a different way to gain access into professions and to practice them. According to these new regulations, professional qualifications required to access a particular profession or professional activity are:

  • tertiary education qualifications;
  • training references/standards for non-higher qualifications included in the National Qualifications Catalogue (CNQ);
  • training references of non-higher qualifications not foreseen in the CNQ;
  • diplomas or certificates obtained by passing exams without previous training.

Total unemployment (2018) ([16]Percentage of active population, 25 to 74 years old.): 6.0%; it decreased by 1.4 percentage points since 2008 and reached its lowest since 2008 ([17]Source: Eurostat, une_rt_a [extracted 20.5.2019].).

 

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

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

 

Unemployment is distributed unevenly between those with low- and high-level qualifications. However, the youth unemployment rate of people with medium-level qualifications, including most VET graduates (ISCED levels 3 and 4) is lower than for those with high-level qualifications.

In 2018, youth unemployment in Portugal was 20.3% (3.6% less than in 2017, but still well above the EU28 average) ([18]Eurostat, table tesem140 [extracted 10.4.2019].).

Employment rate of recent VET graduates increased from 75.1% in 2014 to 84.6% in 2018. Since 2015, the employment rate of VET graduates has been higher than the one of general education graduates.

 

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

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

 

The increase in employment of 20-34 year-old VET graduates in 2014-18 (+9.5 pp) was higher compared to the increase in employment of all 20-34 year-old graduates (+8.3 pp) in the same period in Portugal ([19]NB: Breaks in series. Eurostat table edat_lfse_24 [extracted 16.5.2019].).

Education attainment in Portugal is traditionally lower than the EU average. The share of people with low-level or no qualification was decreased from 73.7% in 2005 to 50.2% in 2018, but is still the highest in EU. The share of those with medium-level qualifications, although it has significantly increased, is still the second lowest in 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 Iceland, Czech Republic, Poland and Latvia.
ISCED 0-2 = less than primary, primary and lower secondary education.
ISCED 3-4 = upper secondary and post-secondary non-tertiary education.
ISCED 5-8 = tertiary education.
Source: Eurostat, lfsa_pgaed [extracted 16.5.2019].

 

Share of learners in VET by level in 2017

lower secondary

upper secondary

post-secondary

8.0%

40.7%

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].

 

Traditionally, there are more males in VET programmes (58.9%), except in the specialised art programmes where in 2016/17 71.5% of learners were females ([20]DGEEC (2018).
Perfil do aluno 2016/2017, pp. 86, 119.
).

Among VET programmes, Professional programmes have the highest percentage of female learners (32.7%).

Post-secondary non-tertiary VET has an even higher rate of males (66.9%) than secondary VET.

Early leaving from education and training has been steadily decreasing from 30.9% in 2009 to 11.8% in 2018. It is still above the national target for 2020 of not more than 10% and the EU-28 average of 10.6%.

 

Early leavers from education and training in 2009-18

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

 

Lifelong learning offers training opportunities for adults including adult education and training programmes, certified modular training, and recognition of prior learning (Recognition, validation and certification of competences process - RVCC).

 

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 had been decreasing during the period 2011-13 (economic crisis), while since 2014 has been steady and close to the EU average.

Regarding adults, participation in VET is rising. 27.5% of those enrolled in education/ training programmes are in the process of recognition of prior learning ([21]Recognition of prior learning - Recognition, validation and certification of competences process (RVCC).), which represents a rise of 7.8%; the Education and training programmes for adults (EFA) remain adults’ main option (59.9%).

Information not available

The education and training system comprises:

  • preschool education (ISCED level 0);
  • basic education (nine years) organised into three cycles integrating primary and lower secondary education (ISCED level 1 and 2);
  • upper secondary education (ISCED level 3);
  • post-secondary non-tertiary education (ISCED level 4);
  • tertiary education (ISCED levels 6, 7 and 8).

Pre-school education is optional and covers children from three to six years old.

Compulsory education lasts 12 school years and starts at the age of six until 18 years old. It comprises basic education that includes nine years of studies until age 15. It is organised into three cycles; the four-year first cycle and the two-year second cycle constitute primary education, while the three-year third cycle corresponds to lower secondary education.

Upper secondary education comprises general (science and humanities) and VET programmes. These three-year programmes give graduates access to tertiary education but also to post-secondary non-tertiary. Permeability is ensured between both paths.

Tertiary education is provided by universities and polytechnics. Pre-conditions to enter tertiary education include successful completion of an upper secondary programme or a similar qualification level, admission exams and specific requirements concerning the area of study.

All VET programmes grant double certification (an education certificate and a professional qualification):

  • at lower secondary level, education and training

programmes targeting those aged 15+ who are at risk of early leaving; they are school-based and include practical training;

  • at upper secondary level, there are three types of school-based VET programme combining general or sociocultural training components, science and technological training with work-based learning (WBL);
  • at post-secondary non-tertiary level, technological specialisation programmes last from one to one-and-a-half years and incorporate WBL;
  • at tertiary level, two-year high professional technical courses are offered by polytechnics (including internship).

Regarding upskilling adults the following programmes exist:

  • adult education and training programmes targeting learners who want to complete lower or upper secondary education and/or obtain a professional qualification;
  • certified modular training;

recognition of prior learning (recognition, validation and certification of competences, RVCC). The two RVCC paths (academic and professional) can lead to either a lower or upper secondary education certificate or a professional qualification ([22]Information taken from the forthcoming Cedefop publication on spotlights compilation (2019).).

Apprenticeship programmes are for young people up to age 25. Programmes include 40% WBL. A training contract between the apprentice and the enterprise (training provider) must be signed ([23]Information taken from the forthcoming Cedefop publication on spotlights compilation (2019).). Curricula are organised in training components: socio-cultural, scientific, technological and practical training in a work environment (WBL) ([24]https://www.refernet.pt/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/Apprenticeship_programmes.pdf). A double certification including a professional qualification and a 12th year school leaving diploma at EQF level 4 (ISCED 354) is granted upon successful completion of the programme.

The central government has overall responsibility for VET. The education ministry is responsible for school-based programmes, the higher education ministry for tertiary education, and the labour ministry for apprenticeship programmes, continuing vocational training and carrying out active labour market measures.

The SNQ ([25]National Qualifications System (Sistema Nacional de Qualificações - SNQ).), launched in 2007 and revised in January 2017, is the framework of VET; it is coordinated by ANQEP ([26]Agência Nacional para a Qualificação e o Ensino professional (National Agency for Qualification and VET).
) and comprises the main VET stakeholders. SNQ has reorganised VET into a single system. It is based on a balanced relationship between VET within the educational system and VET in the labour market. It has established common objectives, instruments, and complementary tools supporting the implementation of:

  • National Qualifications Framework ([27]Quadro Nacional de Qualificações (QNQ).);
  • National Qualifications Catalogue ([28]Catálogo Nacional de Qualificações (CNQ):
    http://www.catalogo.anqep.gov.pt/Home/CNQ/
    ): a strategic tool to manage and regulate non-higher VET;
  • National Credit System for VET (Sistema nacional de créditos do EFP);
  • An instrument for Guidance and Individual Record of Qualifications and competences.

Under the SNQ successful completion of VET programmes grants a double certification.

VET is almost entirely funded by public funding through contributions from the state budget, the social security budget and the European Social Fund (ESF). However, the Autonomous Regions of Madeira and Azores, and the municipalities also contribute with funds, as well as the European Social Fund (ESF).

Spending on education has been reduced since 2013, but is slightly above the EU-28 average. General government expenditure on education, in 2016, was 4.9% of GDP (reduced by 1 p.p. since 2013) and 10.8% of total government spending (EU averages were 4.7% and 10.2% respectively). Secondary education takes the highest share of general government expenditure on education (35.4%), followed by pre-primary and primary education (31.4%) and higher education (12.9%). The annual expenditure in Portuguese educational institutions per student is below the EU average ([29]European Commission (2018). Education and training monitor 2018.
https://ec.europa.eu/education/sites/education/files/document-library-docs/volume-1-2018-education-and-training-monitor-country-analysis.pdf
).

 

Public expenditure on education, EU28 and Portugal, 2016 (%)

Source: European Commission (2018). Education and training monitor 2018. https://ec.europa.eu/education/sites/education/files/document-library-docs/volume-1-2018-education-and-training-monitor-country-analysis.pdf

 

In VET, there are:

  • VET teachers;
  • school-based trainers;
  • in-company trainers (nationally referred as tutors)
  • technicians of guidance, recognition and validation of competences ([30]Recognition of prior learning - Recognition, validation and certification of competences process (RVCC).);
  • social and personal mediators.

VET teachers are usually responsible for the sociocultural and scientific training components of VET programmes. A master’s degree is the minimum academic qualification for the teaching profession. Access to the teaching profession in the public sector is done via national competition, based on academic qualifications and work experience. Applicants have to pass knowledge and competences exams and undergo a subsequent probationary period.

The school-based trainer profession is regulated by 2011 legislation ([31]Portaria (Ordinance) n.º 214/2011, de 30 de maio. Note that the legislation does not differentiate the place of work. Cedefop uses school-based trainer for international comparison reasons.), which made initial pedagogical training of trainers compulsory. Although the minimum length of the initial pedagogical training is 90 hours, a training framework of 10-hour modules introduced more flexibility, allowing a more versatile offer adaptable to the needs of each candidate.

The basic requirements for trainers are:

  • an initial pedagogical training certification; and
  • a higher education degree in relevant scientific, technical, technological and practical training; or
  • training (in components, units or modules) oriented towards competences based on operational/work capacity, provided that trainers hold qualifications equal to the qualification to be granted to learners, and that they have at least five years of proven professional experience.

In-company trainers are professionals that work in the enterprises; there is no specific regulation for their role. In-company trainers should be selected among workers whose professional and pedagogical competences are recognised by the enterprise. In-company trainers are responsible for implementing learner individual activity plan, for assuring learner’s integration in the labour environment, and for assessing the learner; they are also the link between the enterprise and the VET institution. Each in-company trainer may accompany simultaneously up to five learners.

Technicians of guidance, recognition and validation of competences work in Qualifica centres ([32]Qualifica centres target people over 18 years old who are seeking a qualification and, exceptionally, young NEETs; they initiate and develop RVCC.). They must have a higher education degree and experience in one of the following areas: education or professional guidance, and methodologies for monitoring the learning development of young people and adults ([33]Portaria (Ordinance) n.º 232/2016, de 29 de agosto.). They are responsible for hosting RVCC candidates providing information and guidance; they are also responsible for the diagnosis of their needs.

Social and personal mediators work in institutions providing EFA programmes/courses ([34]Adult education and training (EFA) programmes target learners who want to complete lower or upper secondary education and/or obtain a professional qualification at EQF 2 to 4.
).Trainers or guidance professionals, holders of higher education qualifications and training to perform the role of mediator or relevant experience on adult education and training can fulfil the tasks of a mediator ([35]Portaria (Ordinance) n.º 230/2008, de 7 de março.). They are responsible for recruiting and selecting learners and supporting them with personal, social and pedagogical issues; they also participate in the analysis and evaluation of each learner’s profile and help them identify the most appropriate adult education and training offer.

Teacher Continuing professional development (CPD) is mandatory for their career progression ([36]Decreto-Lei (Decree-Law) n.º 22/2014, de 11 de fevereiro.). There are different CPD types such as training courses with variable length, workshops, internships and projects accredited by the authority body ([37]Conselho Científico-Pedagógico da Formação Contínua (CCPFC).). The offers can be provided by higher education institutions; training centres run by school associations ([38]Centros de Formação de Associação de Escolas (CFAE).) or run by non-profit scientific associations; central services of the education ministry; public, private or cooperative associations accredited. For career progression, it is required the participation in one-fifth of the total number of hours of compulsory training in the respective career echelon.

School-based trainer CPD is also ruled by the 2011 legislation ([39]See footnote 31.
). Trainers that want to teach socio-cultural and scientific components of VET programmes included in the SNQ are required to hold the same qualifications as teachers do.

Continuous training of trainers is based on several referential/standards of competences, organised in a modular structure path with flexible length. It may include one or more of the following dimensions:

  • pedagogical: modules aim at improving, deepening or diversifying the competences of trainers. They may also include critical reflection and reinforcement of competences acquired at the initial pedagogical training in organisational, practical, deontological and ethical issues;
  • scientific and/or technological: modules aim at guaranteeing a permanent updating of the trainer’s knowledge and skills in their specific area of intervention, taking into account the constant technical and organisational changes occurring in the labour market, and;
  • operational research: modules directed to the analysis, research and optimisation of referential/standards, models, processes and training methods, ensuring their transferability or application in different contexts, with special focus on WBL.

Trainer CPD is organised into units of 10 hours (or multiples of 10 hours), structured according to its training standard. Seminars, technical meetings, workshops or similar events may have a shorter duration, but can be recognised and used for career advancement.

Launched in March 2015, the system for anticipating qualification needs (SANQ) ([40]Sistema de Antecipação de Necessidades de Qualificações (SANQ):
http://sanq.anqep.gov.pt/?page_id=23
), currently running under the supervision of ANQEP ([41]Agência Nacional para a Qualificação e o Ensino professional (National Agency for Qualification and VET).
), allows for anticipating the future needs of the labour market. It also sheds light into the priority areas and job opportunities in VET. SANQ has been strengthened, namely through the diversity of analysed data and the involvement of a significant and representative number of stakeholders at regional/local level.

IEFP ([42]Instituto do Emprego e Formação Profissional (Institute for Employment and Vocational Training).) has been also developing annual lists aiming to enable VET programmes meet the real needs of the labour market. The List of priorities for VET 2018-19 ([43]https://www.iefp.pt/documents/10181/227378/2018-02-22+-+Sa%C3%ADdas+profissionais_Prioridade+IEFP+2018-2019.pdf/e330d255-9061-4210-bd30-3155c608bae4) at regional and local level is available online and intends to identify a set of areas and vocational opportunities in line with the priorities of the economy, to upskill professionals, to promote the competitiveness of Portuguese enterprises, and to promote the creation of high-skilled jobs.

Sector Councils for Qualification (CSQ), coordinated by ANQEP, are also responsible for regularly identifying the developments and changes regarding skill needs in different sectors. They are technical and consultative working groups; their role is mainly strategic and ensures the active and regular participation of the relevant economic and social stakeholders.

The following instruments also contribute in developing an integrated system to anticipate skills demand and supply:

  • the Integrated System for Information and Management of Education and Training (SIGO) is a platform that stores all data concerning education and training programmes for young people and adults. It is a key instrument for managing and monitoring training actions and issuing training certificates;
  • the Industrial Relations Centre (Centro de Relações Laborais - CRL) is a tripartite technical entity that provides information, promotes discussions and creates conditions for better employment policies with an open perspective about social and labour context, always taking into account the improvement of professional qualifications, employability, and collective bargaining. CRL has administrative autonomy and legal personality, but functions under the labour ministry. It is equally composed of representatives of the Government, the confederations of employers and the trade unions; it intends to improve the interaction between these bodies and to engage the scientific community.

See also Cedefop’s skills forecast ([44]http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/en/publications-and-resources/data-visualisations/skills-forecast)

2017 legislation ([45]Decreto-Lei (Decree-Law) n.º 14/2017 de 26 de janeiro:
https://dre.pt/application/file/a/105808732
) reinforces the importance of SANQ ([46]Sistema de Antecipação de Necessidades de Qualificações (SANQ):
http://sanq.anqep.gov.pt/?page_id=23
) in designing and updating qualifications in the CNQ ([47]Catálogo nacional de qualificações (CNQ) (National qualifications catalogue).). SANQ influences mostly the number and the design of VET programmes and courses, in order labour market needs to be addressed at regional level.

Upper secondary school-based VET programmes under the responsibility of the education ministry and professional training provided by the Public Employment Services of IEFP ([48]Instituto do Emprego e Formação Profissional (Institute for Employment and Vocational Training).) are independent of the SANQ output.

The National Qualifications Catalogue (CNQ) ([49]http://www.catalogo.anqep.gov.pt/Home/CNQ/) was launched in 2008. It is designed as a tool of strategic management of the qualifications framework for VET at non-tertiary level that helps regulate VET provision leading to double certification. One of its main objectives is to elaborate qualifications standards and key competences needed for the competitiveness and modernisation of the economy and for the personal and social development of individuals. The qualifications in the CNQ are organised by certification level training areas. In 2018, the CNQ included 310 qualifications in 41 areas of education and training.

Each standard for qualification of CNQ is composed by:

  • a professional profile comprising the work activities associated with the qualifications, as well as the knowledge and skills (professional, personal and social) needed to perform these activities;
  • a training framework establishing the content as well as the information needed to organise provision according to the framework of competences leading to double certification. It consists of a basic training component (school oriented) and a technological training component organised by autonomously certifiable units of short duration (from 25 to 50 hours), allowing for flexible qualification paths and permeability between the same area of education and training;
  • a framework for RVCC ([50]Recognition of prior learning - Recognition, validation and certification of competences process (RVCC).) of either formally or informally acquired competences helps guiding a candidate in a qualification path according to his/her needs and leads to the acquisition of a certificate (at the level of basic or secondary education) and/or a training certificate (at EQF level 2 or 4).

The open consultation process ([51]Modelo aberto de consulta (open consultation process):
http://www.catalogo.anqep.gov.pt/Home/MAC
) is another mechanism that allows entities to participate in updating the CNQ through the revision, integration and/or exclusion of qualifications from the CNQ, as well as changing a professional profile or training reference and a standard of RVCC. The process endows the Catalogue with a greater dynamism and widens the debate around qualifications needs. Stakeholders can submit on-line their proposals. If the proposal concerns a new qualification, and if it is accepted, a three-stage process takes place leading to the publication of the new qualification in the official Bulletin for Labour and Employment ([52]http://bte.gep.msess.gov.pt/). Finally, the new qualification will be integrated into the CNQ and will be made available online given it fulfils specific criteria.

Sector Councils for Qualifications (CSQ) support the update and development of CNQ by presenting or analysing proposals for the revision, integration and exclusion of qualifications from the CNQ. They are expanded technical and consultative working groups involving stakeholders such as representatives of ministries, social partners, enterprises and training providers. CSQ are responsible for:

  • identifying the needs for qualifications and competences that respond to these changes;
  • presenting the appropriate proposals for updating and developing the CNQ;
  • analysing and advising on external proposals for updating and developing CNQ;
  • supporting the design of qualifications;
  • facilitating the cooperation, co-responsibility among the relevant bodies of each economic sector aiming to promote the development of innovative solutions for better competences and qualifications, and;
  • identifying technical and methodological competences to support ANQEP ([53]Agência Nacional para a Qualificação e o Ensino professional (National Agency for Qualification and VET).
    ) in the processes of updating and developing the CNQ.

DGERT ([54]Direção-Geral do Emprego e Relações Profissionais (General Directorate for Employment and Industrial Relations)
) is responsible for the accreditation ([55]Portaria (Ordinance) n.º 208/2013, de 26 de junho.) of VET providers (nationally referred to as certification) ([56]See also:
http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/en/news-and-press/news/portugal-certification-training-providers
). Education providers under the responsibility of the education ministry are exempt from accreditation.

Accreditation process

The requirements for the accreditation of VET providers are divided into two groups:

  • prerequisites: To apply for accreditation, VET providers should meet essential legal conditions;
  • quality requirements: The quality requirements of VET providers refer to:
  • the internal structure and organisation (human resources, facilities and equipment) of the provider;
  • the development process of training programmes (planning, design, organisation, development and training assessment);
  • assessment of outcomes and continuous improvement (post-training follow-up, annual assessment of results, constant improvement measures).

Initial accreditation

VET providers should define the training or education programme which will be under evaluation and self-evaluate its structure and practices against the quality standards. Subsequently providers submit an electronic request for accreditation to DGERT, which can then carry out evaluation (technical, documentary or audit-supported) to certify that they can develop a training programme in a specific thematic area. As long as accredited VET providers meet requirements, they can develop a new training offer and request extension of their certification to other education or training thematic areas

Maintaining accreditation

Maintaining accreditation is regularly assessed by DGERT through audits considering the results of providers’ training activity. DGERT follows the general criteria ([57]https://certifica.dgert.gov.pt/processo-de-certificacao1/manter-a-certificacao/auditoria-de-manutencao.aspx):

  • date of the initial accreditation;
  • signalling of changes in the structure or training activity;
  • signalling of complaints received by DGERT;

Accreditation benefits

  • quality accreditation;
  • training diploma referenced to national qualifications system;
  • access to national or community public funding programmes for vocational training;
  • tax exemption on VAT for training products and services;
  • deduction of training expenses in individual income tax.

 

Another national approach to improve quality assurance in VET and related WBL has been devised using the EQAVET framework. VET providers have been aligning their quality assurance approaches to the EQAVET framework and the overall objective is that, when the quality assurance approach is fully implemented, all VET providers can adopt it and be awarded a quality label based on EQAVET quality criteria and indicative descriptors. This plan will be gradually carried out until 2020.

Recognition of prior learning (recognition, validation and certification of competences process - RVCC) comprises the identification of formal, non-formal and informal competences developed throughout life; through the development of specific activities and the application of a set of appropriate evaluation tools. Adults may start this process at any time at a Qualifica centre ([58]Qualifica centres target young people (aged 15 or older), provide guidance and counselling especially for NEETs and initiate and develop RVCC processes for low-skilled adults.).

RVCC process has two distinct paths: the education and the professional.

To access educational or professional RVCC processes, candidates must be at least 18 years old and possess sufficient knowledge in relation to the key competence and the professional competence framework. 23-years old or younger candidates must also submit proof of a minimum of three years professional experience via a statement issued by the relevant social security office.

One of the tools used in the RVCC process to evaluate the candidates is the reflective learning portfolio (portefólio reflexivo). It is a written record of the candidate's competences acquired throughout life; it also presents a critical appraisal of their knowledge, competence development, prior experience, and education. It includes all relevant supporting documentation linked to the different areas of the portfolio. Validation of these competences is done under the referential framework of key competences elaborated by ANQEP ([59]Agência Nacional para a Qualificação e o Ensino professional (National Agency for Qualification and VET).
).

A jury appointed by a Qualifica Centre does the certification of competences after the evaluation of the candidate. It can include written, oral or practical evaluation, or a combination of the three, that can be organised by key competences areas in the case of the education path, or by professional competences in the case of the professional path.

Candidates can obtain a full certification (when they have proven that they possess all the competence units of the standard) or a partial certification. In the education path, a full certification enables the candidate to obtain a certificate of basic education (4, 6 or 9 years of schooling) or upper-secondary education (12 years of schooling) corresponding to EQF levels 1 to 4. In the professional path, a full certification testifies that the candidate holds the competences of specific professional standard at EQF level 2 and 4. Partial certifications allow the candidate to attend the remaining training to obtain a qualification.

These processes are under the responsibility of the Qualifica Centres, managed by ANQEP. Currently there are around 290 centres spread all over the country.

Participation in RVCC processes in 2017 was 11.1% when compared with all adults enrolled in VET offers.

For more information about arrangements for the validation of non-formal and informal learning please visit Cedefop’s European database ([60]http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/en/publications-and-resources/data-visualisations/european-database-on-validation-of-non-formal-and-informal-learning).

Allowances, grants and scholarships target learners with low income. The Operational Programme for Human Capital (Programa Operacional Capital Humano – POCH) foresees financial incentives for VET learners. Learners receive these incentives through VET providers. Incentives for VET learners are:

  • a scholarship received by learners during the WBL period (subject to learner’s attendance);
  • study material (Bolsa de material de estudo);
  • travel allowance;
  • accommodation subsidies for learners living more than 50km away from the VET provider premises;
  • food/ meals subsidies.

The most relevant funding for VET programmes and VET providers, including enterprises, is the Operational Programme for Human Capital (Programa Operacional Capital Humano - POCH), complemented by some actions of the Operational Programme for Employment and Social Inclusion (Programa Operacional Inclusão Social e Emprego - POISE). Moreover, VET support for employed adults is carried out by enterprises under the monitoring and evaluation of the Operational Programme for Competitiveness and Internationalisation (POCI/COMPETE 2020). These operational programmes fall under Portugal 2020 ([61]https://www.portugal2020.pt/Portal2020), a partnership agreement adopted between Portugal and the European Commission, which brings together the work of the five European structural and investment funds, including ESF.

Formal guidance is provided by professionals at schools, IEFP ([62]Training Instituto do Emprego e Formação Profissional (Institute for Employment and Vocational).
) public employment services and Qualifica Centres ([63]Qualifica centres target people over 18 years old who are seeking a qualification and, exceptionally, young NEETs; they initiate and develop recognition, validation and certification of competences process (RVCC).).

School psychology and counselling services develop their activity in the psycho-pedagogical field supporting learners and teachers in developing school community relationships and in providing lifelong guidance. They work in an integrated way and in close contact with the educational community, teachers, non-teaching staff, parents, caregivers, and other educational agents in the surrounding area.

The IEFP has a network of Professional Integration Offices (Gabinetes de inserção profissional - GIP) supported by public and private non-profit organisations. GIPs are accredited to provide support to unemployed young people and adults to (re)-enter labour market in close cooperation with employment services; they also promote VET awareness. IEFP also runs an online platform ( Vi@s), which provides information, allows users to interact and eases users in managing their career. It also supports guidance professionals, teachers and parents.

The main objectives of Qualifica Centres are to:

  • Inform and guide individuals to VET programmes that best fit their profiles, needs, motivations and expectations;
  • initiate and develop Recognition, validation and certification of competences processes (RVCC);
  • increase awareness among young people, adults, and enterprises/employers about lifelong learning.

Please also see:

Vocational education and training system chart

Tertiary

Click on a programme type to see more info
Programme Types

EQF 5

CTeSP

2 years,

WBL =/> 25%

ISCED 554

Higher professional technical programmes (cursos técnicos superiores profissionais - CTeSP) leading to EQF level 5, ISCED 554
EQF level
5
ISCED-P 2011 level

554 ([85a]According to Deliberação n.º 343/2017, de 2 de maio de 2017. http://dre.pt/application/file/a/106931970 
).

Usual entry grade

12+

Usual entry age

18

Length of a programme (years)

2 (four academic semesters)

  
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?

Not applicable

Is it offered free of charge?

N

In public higher education the value of the fees is set according to each programmes and with a minimum amount corresponding to 1.3 of the national minimum wage and a maximum calculated on the basis of the consumer price index ([84]https://www.dges.gov.pt/pt/pagina/propinas?plid=371).

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

Graduates are credited 120 ECTS points (practical training lasts at least one semester and grants 30 ECTS points)

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

These programmes comprise school-based general, scientific and technical components, and practical training which takes place through an internship

Main providers

These programmes are provided by polytechnic institutions

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

>= 25%

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

Programmes are available for young people and adults.

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

To enter CTeSP programmes learners must have:

Assessment of learning outcomes

To complete a CTeSP programme, learners need to succeed in the final examinations of the subjects and achieve the number of ECTS required.

Diplomas/certificates provided

These programmes lead to a Diploma of Higher Professional Technician at EQF level 5 (not a higher education degree)

Examples of qualifications

Information not available

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

CTeSP graduates can access the 1st cycle of higher education programmes or integrated master programmes through specific application procedures, leading to a higher education degree.

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

N

General education subjects

Y

These programmes comprise general and scientific training components

Key competences

Y

These comprise general and scientific training components

Application of learning outcomes approach

Information not available

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

Information not available

Post-secondary

Click on a programme type to see more info
Programme Types

EQF 5

CET

1-1.5 years,

WBL 30-46%

ISCED 454

Technological specialisation programmes (cursos de especialização tecnológica - CET) leading to EQF level 5, ISCED 454
EQF level
5
ISCED-P 2011 level

454

Usual entry grade

12+

Usual completion grade


Usual entry age

18

Usual completion age

19-20

Length of a programme (years)

1 to 1.5 years (from 1 200 to 1 560 hours)

  
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?

It depends on the training provider. Whenever the training provider applies to public funding the CET programmes are free of charge.

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

Through agreements with higher tertiary institutions CET graduates are credited 60 to 90 ECTS points

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

CET programmes comprise general, scientific and technological training components and WBL:

  • general and scientific - aims at developing attitudes and behaviours appropriate for higher level qualification professionals, adaptability to the labour and corporate world; and improving, if needed, the scientific knowledge related with the specific technological field of study.
  • technological - integrates areas of a technological nature oriented to the understanding of practical activities and to the resolution of problems in the professional practice.
  • WBL - aims at applying the knowledge and know-how acquired to the practical activities of the respective professional profile; and performing tasks under guidance, using the techniques, equipment and materials that are integrated in the production processes of goods or services. The WBL can adopt different types of practical training in a real work context, namely internships and it is developed through partnership.
Main providers

These programmes are provided by public, private and cooperative schools, vocational training centres direct or jointly managed by IEFP([83]Instituto do Emprego e Formação Profissional (Institute for Employment and Vocational Training).), technological schools and other training providers certified by the labour ministry

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

30% to 46%

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

CET programmes are available for young people and adults.

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

To enter CET programmes learners must have:

  • an upper secondary qualification (EQF level 4); or
  • successfully completed all school subjects of the 10th and 11th years and have been enrolled in the 12th year but not completed it; or
  • a professional qualification at EQF level 3 or 4, or;
  • a specialisation technological certificate or a higher education degree and wishing to have a professional requalification.
Assessment of learning outcomes

To complete a CET programme, learners need to pass formative and summative assessments according to the professional competences that the technological specialisation diploma certifies. A CET graduate is the one who has been approved in all their training components including the practical part.

Diplomas/certificates provided

Graduates receive a qualification at EQF level 5 (ISCED 454) and a technological specialisation diploma called Diploma de Especialização Tecnológica (DET).

Examples of qualifications

Training is offered in various fields such as computer science, trade, electronics and automation, and tourism and recreation.

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

The CET diploma allows learners to apply to higher education through a special admission procedure determined by a broader regulatory framework, provided that they meet the entry requirements set by each academic institution.

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

N

General education subjects

Y

These programmes comprise general and scientific training components.

Key competences

Y

These programmes comprise general and scientific training components.

Application of learning outcomes approach

Information not available

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

Information not available

Secondary

Click on a programme type to see more info
Programme Types

EQF 2

CEF programmes for >15 years-olds,

3 years,

WBL 17%

ISCED 254

Education and training programmes for young people (cursos de educação e formação de jovens - CEF) including four types of initial VET programmes leading to EQF level 2, ISCED 254
EQF level
2
ISCED-P 2011 level

254

Usual entry grade

7

Usual completion grade

9

Usual entry age

15 (minimum)

Usual completion age

18

Length of a programme (years)

3

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

Y

In 2009, compulsory education was extended to 12 years of schooling, between the age of six and 18 ([67]Lei (Law) n.º 85/2009, de 25 de agosto.).

18

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

Exempt of fees for learners under compulsory education.

Is it available for adults?

Y

The legislation does not set an age limit, but only young adults (up to the age of 21) attend it.

ECVET or other credits

Depending on the programme, the minimum of credits is 120 ([66]Article 5 of the
Portaria (Ordinance) n.º 47/2017, de 1 de fevereiro.
).

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

CEF programmes comprise four training components: sociocultural, scientific, technological and practical including a minimum of 210 hours of work-based learning (WBL) each year.

Main providers

- network of public, private and cooperative schools;

- professional schools;

- IEFP ([68]Instituto do Emprego e Formação Profissional (Institute for Employment and Vocational Training).) vocational training centres (directly and jointly managed);

- accredited training providers; linked with community entities, namely local authorities, enterprises or business organisations, other social partners and local or regional associations, set up by protocols aimed at maximising physical structures and human and material resources.

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

17%

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

The aim of these programmes is to reduce the high number of early school leavers. Learners must be 15 or more years old and without a lower secondary education qualification.

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

Learners must have completed only the first cycle of basic education (four years) and be at least 15 years old.

Assessment of learning outcomes

Learners’ assessment is carried out per subject/area and per training component. Assessment is formative and summative and includes a final test comprising a professional performance presentation in front of a jury, with one or more practical works related with the most relevant knowledge and skills included in the programme profile

Diplomas/certificates provided

Successful completion of a CEF leads to a double certification: an education certificate (3rd cycle of lower secondary education certificate at EQF level 2 ISCED 254) and a professional qualification. A learner that only completed the 2nd cycle of basic education receives a certificate of EQF level 1 and a professional qualification.

Examples of qualifications

Training is offered in various fields, such as crafts, computer sciences, environmental protection, accounting, management, beauty care, domestic services, therapy and rehabilitation, electronics, food industry, metallurgy.

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Progression is allowed to upper secondary education and to higher level CEF programmes after meeting certain requirements

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

N

General education subjects

Y

Two of the four training components of CEF programmes is the sociocultural (including Portuguese; foreigner language; and, ICT) and the scientific (including applied sciences, including mathematic).

Key competences

Y

Two of the four training components of CEF programmes is the sociocultural (including Portuguese; foreigner language; and, ICT) and the scientific (with applied sciences, including mathematic).

Application of learning outcomes approach

information not available

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

6.9% of all VET learners in lower and upper secondary education were in these programmes ([69]DGEEC (2018). Estatísticas da Educação 2016/2017: jovens [Education statistics 2016/17: young people].
http://www.dgeec.mec.pt/np4/96/%7B$clientServletPath%7D/?newsId=145&fileName=DGEEC_DSEE_DEEBS_2018_EE20162017_Jovens.pdf
)

EQF 4

CEF 1-3 years,

WBL 15-19%

ISCED 354

Education and training programmes for young people (cursos de educação e formação de jovens - CEF). Including three types of initial VET programmes leading to EQF level 4, ISCED 354
EQF level
4
ISCED-P 2011 level

354

Usual entry grade

10

Usual completion grade

12

Usual entry age

16

Usual completion age

18

Length of a programme (years)

1 to 3 years (from 1 125 to 2 276 hours)

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

Y

In 2009, compulsory education was extended to 12 years of schooling, between the age of six and 18 ([71]Lei (Law) n.º 85/2009, de 25 de agosto.).

18

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

Exempt of fees for learners under compulsory education.

Is it available for adults?

Y

The legislation does not set an age limit, but only young adults (up to the age of 21) attend it.

ECVET or other credits

Depending on the programme, the minimum of credits is 180 ([70]Article 6 of the
Portaria (Ordinance) n.º 47/2017, de 1 de fevereiro.
).

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

These programmes combine sociocultural, scientific and technological school-based training with work-based learning (WBL).

Main providers
  • network of public, private and cooperative schools;
  • professional schools;
  • IEFP vocational training centres (directly and joint managed);
  • accredited training providers; linked with community entities, namely local authorities, enterprises or business organisations, other social partners and local or regional associations, set up by protocols aimed at maximising physical structures and human and material resources.
Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

15%-19%

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

These programmes aim to reduce the high number of early school leavers. They are meant to enhance learner integration into the labour market and to motivate them to continue further studies/training by providing flexible learning paths in line with their expectations and local labour market needs.

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

Learners should have completed basic education or lower secondary education CEF programmes.

Assessment of learning outcomes

Assessment is formative and summative, including a final test that comprises a professional performance presentation in front of a jury, with one or more practical assessments related to the most relevant knowledge and skills included in the programme profile.

Diplomas/certificates provided

Successful completion of a CEF leads to a double certification – a professional qualification and a 12th year school leaving diploma at EQF level 4.

Examples of qualifications

Training is offered in various fields, such as crafts, computer sciences, environmental protection, accounting, management, beauty care, domestic services, therapy and rehabilitation, electronics, food industry, metallurgy.

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

After being awarded a double certification, learners can continue their studies at:

  • post-secondary non-tertiatry; or
  • tertiary education.

as long as they meet the relevant access requirements.

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Information not available

General education subjects

Y

These programmes include sociocultural (including Portuguese; foreigner language; and, ICT) and scientific (including applied sciences) training components.

Key competences

Y

These programmes include sociocultural (including Portuguese; foreigner language; and, ICT) and scientific (including applied sciences) training components.

Application of learning outcomes approach

information not available

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

0.29% ([70a]2016/2017

 
).

EQF 4

Apprenticeship

programmes,

3 years,

WBL >40%

ISCED 354

Apprenticeship programmes (cursos de aprendizagem). Initial VET programmes leading to EQF level 4, ISCED 354
EQF level
4
ISCED-P 2011 level

354

Usual entry grade

10

Usual completion grade

12

Usual entry age

16

Usual completion age

18

Length of a programme (years)

3 (maximum of 3 700 hours)

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

Y

In 2009, compulsory education was extended to 12 years of schooling, between the age of six and 18 ([73]Lei (Law) n.º 85/2009, de 25 de agosto.).

18

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

Exempt of fees for learners under compulsory education.

Is it available for adults?

Y

The legislation does not set an age limit, but only young adults (up to the age of 25) attend it.

ECVET or other credits

Depending on the programme, the minimum of credits is 180 ([72]Article 6 of the
Portaria (Ordinance) n.º 47/2017, de 1 de fevereiro.
).

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

These programmes comprise school-based sociocultural, scientific and technological training and WBL in an enterprise.

Main providers

These programmes are provided by IEFP ([74]Instituto do Emprego e Formação Profissional (Institute for Employment and Vocational Training).) vocational training centres or private providers (e.g. employers’ associations, companies, trade unions) under protocols with IEFP.

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

> 40%

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

These programmes target young learners up to 25 years old.

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

Learners should have successfully completed the 9th year of schooling (the 3rd cycle of basic education/lower secondary education or a CEF programmes).

Assessment of learning outcomes

The assessment is formative and summative. The final evaluation test (Prova de Avaliação Final - PAF) constitutes an integrated set of practical activities at the end of the training programme that helps a jury assess the competences acquired during training.

Diplomas/certificates provided

A double certification – a professional qualification and a 12th year school leaving diploma at EQF level 4 (ISCED 354) is granted upon successful completion of the programme.

Examples of qualifications

Priority areas of training include audio-visual and media production, computer sciences, trade, construction and repair of motor vehicles, electricity and energy, electronics and automation, hospitality and catering, manufacturing of textiles, clothing, footwear and leather, metallurgy and technologies of chemical processing.

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

After being awarded the double certification, learners can continue their studies at:

• post-secondary non-tertiary; or

• tertiary education.

as long as they meet the relevant requirements set by the higher education establishment for the respective field of study.

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Information not available

General education subjects

Y

These programmes include sociocultural and scientific training.

Key competences

Y

These programmes include sociocultural and scientific training.

Application of learning outcomes approach

It depends on the fields of education and training ([75]http://www.catalogo.anqep.gov.pt/Destaques/Detalhe/172).

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

14.5% ([76a]2016/2017
).

EQF 4

Professional

programmes,

3 years,

WBL 19-24%

ISCED 354

Professional programmes (cursos profissionais) leading to EQF level 4, ISCED 354
EQF level
4
ISCED-P 2011 level

354

Usual entry grade

10

Usual completion grade

12

Usual entry age

16

Usual completion age

18

Length of a programme (years)

3 (from 3 100 to 3 440 hours)

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

Y

In 2009, compulsory education was extended to 12 years of schooling, between the age of six and 18 ([77]Lei (Law) n.º 85/2009, de 25 de agosto.).

18

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

Exempt of fees for learners under compulsory education.

Is it available for adults?

Y

The legislation does not set an age limit, but only young adults (up to the age of 25) attend it.

ECVET or other credits

Depending on the programme, the minimum of credits is 180 ([76]Article 6 of the
Portaria (Ordinance) n.º 47/2017, de 1 de fevereiro.
).

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

These programmes combine the following training components:

  • sociocultural, scientific and technological training (school-based components); and
  • work-based learning (WBL) in the form of a traineeship carried out in enterprises or other organisations.
Main providers

Programmes are offered by professional, public (upper secondary) or private schools.

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

19% - 24%

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

The technological training component includes subjects of technological, technical and practical nature provided at school. It also includes in-company practice foreseen in an agreement between the school and the enterprise and has a minimum duration of 600 hours up to a maximum of 840 hours. The learner’s work plan, once signed, is considered an integral part of the training contract (different from a labour contract).

Main target groups

These programmes target learners that want to follow a more practical and labour market-oriented programme.

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

To enrol in these programmes learners need to be between 15 and 18 years old (with exceptions foreseen by legislation) and to have completed lower secondary education.

Assessment of learning outcomes

The programme has formative and summative assessment and includes a presentation of a project called Proof of Professional Aptitude (Prova de Aptidão Profissional - PAP) in front of a jury.

Diplomas/certificates provided

They lead to a double certification – a professional qualification and a 12th year school leaving diploma

Examples of qualifications

Training fields include applied arts, business administration, computer sciences, electronics, engineering, energy, construction and architecture, food industries, health services, tourism and hospitality, etc.

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Graduates can pursue further studies in Technological specialisation programmes, access higher education, upon the fulfilment of requirements foreseen in the regulations, or enter the labour market.

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Information not available

General education subjects

Y

These programmes include three general education subjects (common for all training fields): Portuguese, foreign languages and physics.

Key competences

Y

These programmes include three general education subjects (common for all training fields): Portuguese, foreign languages and physics.

Application of learning outcomes approach

It depends on the fields of education and training ([78]http://www.catalogo.anqep.gov.pt/Destaques/Detalhe/172).

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

68.7% ([79]DGEEC (2018). Estatísticas da Educação 2016/2017: jovens [Education statistics 2016/17: young people].
http://www.dgeec.mec.pt/np4/96/%7B$clientServletPath%7D/?newsId=145&fileName=DGEEC_DSEE_DEEBS_2018_EE20162017_Jovens.pdf
)

EQF 4

Art education

programmes,

3 years,

WBL varies

ISCED 344, 354

Art education programmes (cursos artísticos especializados) leading to EQF level 4, ISCED 344, 354
EQF level
4
ISCED-P 2011 level

344, 354

Usual entry grade

10

Usual completion grade

12

Usual entry age

16

Usual completion age

18

Length of a programme (years)

3 (from 3 645 to 6 390 hours according to the training field)

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

Y

In 2009, compulsory education was extended to 12 years of schooling, between the age of six and 18 ([81]Lei (Law) n.º 85/2009, de 25 de agosto.).

18

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

Exempt of fees for learners under compulsory education.

Is it available for adults?

Y

The legislation does not set an age limit, but only young adults (up to the age of 21) attend it.

ECVET or other credits

Depending on the programme, the minimum of credits is 180 ([80]Article 6 of the
Portaria (Ordinance) n.º 47/2017, de 1 de fevereiro.
).

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

These programmes combine:

  • education, science and technological training (school-based components); and
  • work-based learning (WBL) in the form of a traineeship carried out in enterprises or other organisations.
Main providers

Programmes are offered by public, private or cooperative schools

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

Information not available

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

The technical-artistic component includes practical training at school and in-company practice. It is mandatory only in the third year of the programme (12th year of schooling). It is preferentially performed at the workplace, in workshops, companies or other organisations, through the transmission of know-how, by taking on occasional jobs or via an internship. It can be performed via the simulation of a set of relevant professional activities to the programme profile, developed in similar conditions to a real world working context, integrated in the school subject of the Technical-artistic training component called ‘Project and Technologies’.

Main target groups

These programmes target learners who want to have a career in the artistic field of their choice and develop their capacities and talent or to take further studies/training in one of the fields.

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

Learners must be at least 15 years old and completed the 3rd cycle of lower secondary education (9th year of schooling).

Assessment of learning outcomes

Assessment is formative and summative, including a final test (Prova de Aptidão Artistica - PAA) that comprises a professional performance presentation in front of a jury, with one or more practical assessments related to the most relevant knowledge & skills included in the programme profile.

Diplomas/certificates provided

Successful completion of an art education programme leads to a double certification (a professional qualification and a 12th year school leaving diploma).

Examples of qualifications

The programme in the field of visual arts includes communication design, product design, and artistic production. The programme in the audio-visual field includes audio-visual communication.

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Progression is possible to technological specialisation programmes (EQF level 5) or higher education (university or polytechnic), provided that learners meet the access requirements.

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

N

General education subjects

Y

These programmes have a general and a scientific training component.

Key competences

Y

These programmes have a general and a scientific training component.

Application of learning outcomes approach

information not available

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

1.3% ([82]DGEEC (2018). Estatísticas da Educação 2016/2017: jovens [Education statistics 2016/17: young people].
http://www.dgeec.mec.pt/np4/96/%7B$clientServletPath%7D/?newsId=145&fileName=DGEEC_DSEE_DEEBS_2018_EE20162017_Jovens.pdf
)

VET available to adults (formal and non-formal)

Programme Types
Not available

General themes

VET in the Netherlands comprises the following main features:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It increased since 2013 by 2.4% due to positive natural growth and immigration ([5]NB: Data for population as of 1 January. Eurostat table tps00001 [extracted 16.5.2019].).

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

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

 

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

Source: Eurostat, proj_15ndbims [extracted 16.5.2019].

 

Demographic changes have an impact on VET.

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

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

Not applicable

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

 

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

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

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

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

A limited number of occupations/professions are regulated.

The labour market is considered flexible.

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

Share of learners in VET by level in 2017

lower secondary

upper secondary

post-secondary

5.9%

68.2%

not applicable

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

 

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

 

Early leavers from education and training in 2009-18

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

 

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

 

Participation in lifelong learning in 2014-18

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

 

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

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

 

VET learners by age and track 2018

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

 

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

The education and training system comprises:

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

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

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

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

General secondary education includes:

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

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

The main legislation for initial VET (IVET) is:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Number of student in dual track (BBL) by age

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

Organisational levels and functions/roles in initial VET

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

 

The funding arrangements for VET are as follows:

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

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

In VET, there are:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The generated labour market information caters to the needs of:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Qualification and curriculum development in upper secondary VET

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

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

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

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

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

Quality assurance in upper secondary VET

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Student finance act

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

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

Right of enrolment in VET

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

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

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

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

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

Please also see:

Vocational education and training system chart

Tertiary

Click on a programme type to see more info
Programme Types

EQF 5

Associate degree,

2 years

ISCED 554

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

554

Usual entry grade

14+

Usual completion grade

15+

Usual entry age

18 for upper secondary general education

20+ for upper secondary VET graduates

Usual completion age

19+

Length of a programme (years)

2

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

Y

Is it offered free of charge?

N

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

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

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

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

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

Information not available

Main providers

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

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

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

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

Information not available

Main target groups

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

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

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

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

Assessment of learning outcomes

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

Diplomas/certificates provided

Associate degree (AD) diploma.

Examples of qualifications

Information not available

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

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

Destination of graduates


Awards through validation of prior learning

Information not available

General education subjects

N

Key competences

Information not available

Application of learning outcomes approach

Information not available

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

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

EQF 6

Higher professional

bachelor

programmes

4 years

ISCED 655

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

655

Usual entry grade

14+

Usual completion grade


Usual entry age

18 for upper secondary general education

20+ for upper secondary VET graduates

Usual completion age

21+

Length of a programme (years)

4

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

N

Is it continuing VET?

N

Is it offered free of charge?

N

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

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

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

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

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

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

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

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

Main providers

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

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

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

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

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

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

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

Assessment of learning outcomes

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

Diplomas/certificates provided

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

Examples of qualifications

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

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

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

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

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Y

General education subjects

N

Key competences

Information not available

Application of learning outcomes approach

Information not available

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

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

EQF 7

Professional master’s

programmes

1 year

ISCED 757

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

757

Usual entry grade


Usual completion grade


Usual entry age

21+

Usual completion age

22+

Length of a programme (years)

1

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

N

Is it continuing VET?

Information not available

Is it offered free of charge?

N

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

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

Information not available

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

information not available

Main providers

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

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

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

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

information not available

Main target groups

Higher professional bachelor programmes graduates

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

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

Assessment of learning outcomes

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

Diplomas/certificates provided

Professional master’s degree

Examples of qualifications

Information not available

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

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

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Information not available

General education subjects

N

Key competences

Information not available

Application of learning outcomes approach

Information not available

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

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

Post-secondary

Click on a programme type to see more info
Programme Types

EQF 4

Specialising

programmes,

1 year

ISCED 453

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

453

Usual entry grade

16

Usual completion grade

16

Usual entry age

20

Usual completion age

20

Length of a programme (years)

1

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

N

Is it continuing VET?

Y

Is it offered free of charge?

A tuition fee is compulsory from the age of 18.

For 2018/2018 this fee is EUR 1155

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

Information not available

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

These programmes offer two different learning pathways:

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

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

Main providers

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

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

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

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

in-company practice (internships)

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

Main target groups

Professional and middle management upper secondary VET programmes graduates

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

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

Assessment of learning outcomes

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

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

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

Diplomas/certificates provided

VET learners receive a specialist upper secondary VET qualification.

Examples of qualifications

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

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

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

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Y

General education subjects

Y

Dutch language, English, basic math

Key competences

Information not available

Application of learning outcomes approach

Information not available

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

Information not available

Secondary

Click on a programme type to see more info
Programme Types

EQF 1 or 2

Lower secondary

pre-vocational

school-based programmes,

4 years

ISCED 244

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

244

Usual entry grade

9

Usual completion grade

12

Usual entry age

13

Usual completion age

16

Length of a programme (years)

4

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

Y

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

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

N

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

Information not available

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

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

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

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

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

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

Main providers

Secondary education schools

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

information not available

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

Programmes are available for young people

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

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

Assessment of learning outcomes

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

Diplomas/certificates provided

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

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

Examples of qualifications

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

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

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

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

Destination of graduates

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

Awards through validation of prior learning

N

General education subjects

Y

The first two years consist of general subjects.

Dutch language and basic maths.

Key competences

information not available

Application of learning outcomes approach

information not available

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

information not available

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

Practical labour-oriented

programmes for students

with learning difficulties

ISCED 253

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

253

Usual entry grade

9

Usual completion grade

13

Usual entry age

13

Usual completion age

17

Length of a programme (years)

5 years

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

Y

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

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

N

Secondary education

Is it continuing VET?

N

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

Information not available

Is it available for adults?

N

ECVET or other credits

Not applicable

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

Information not available

Main providers

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

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

Information not available

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

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

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

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

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

Assessment of learning outcomes

information not available

Diplomas/certificates provided

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

Examples of qualifications

Not Applicable

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

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

Destination of graduates

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

Awards through validation of prior learning

Information not available

General education subjects

Information not available

Key competences

Information not available

Application of learning outcomes approach

Information not available

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

Information not available

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

EQF 1

Entry level

Programmes,

1 year

ISCED 254

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

254

Usual entry grade

13

Usual completion grade

13

Usual entry age

16 to 17

Usual completion age

17

Length of a programme (years)

1

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

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

Y

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

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

Y

Upper secondary IVET programmes can also function as CVET.

Is it offered free of charge?

A tuition fee is compulsory from the age of 18.

For 2018/19 this fee is EUR 1155

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

Information not available

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

These programmes offer two different learning pathways:

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

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

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

Main providers

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

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

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

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

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

Main target groups

Programmes are available for young people and also for adults.

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

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

Assessment of learning outcomes

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

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

Diplomas/certificates provided

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

Examples of qualifications

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

Examples of entry level qualifications:

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

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

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

Destination of graduates

information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Y

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

General education subjects

N

Key competences

Information not available

Application of learning outcomes approach

Information not available

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

EQF 2

Basic vocational

programmes

1-2 years

ISCED 353

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

353

Usual entry grade

13

Usual completion grade

14

Usual entry age

16 to 17

Usual completion age

18

Length of a programme (years)

1 to 2

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

Y

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

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

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

Y

Upper secondary IVET programmes can also function as CVET.

Is it offered free of charge?

A tuition fee is compulsory from the age of 18.

For 2018/19 this fee is EUR 1 155

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

Information not available

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

These programmes offer two different learning pathways:

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

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

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

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

Main providers

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

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

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

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

in-company practice (internships)

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

Main target groups

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

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

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

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

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

Assessment of learning outcomes

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

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

Diplomas/certificates provided

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

Examples of qualifications

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

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

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

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

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

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Y

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

General education subjects

Y

Dutch language and basic maths

Key competences

Information not available

Application of learning outcomes approach

Information not available

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

17% of learners in upper secondary VET programmes

EQF 3

Professional education

Programmes,

2-3 years

ISCED 353

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

353

Usual entry grade

13

Usual completion grade

15

Usual entry age

16 to 17

Usual completion age

19

Length of a programme (years)

2 to 3

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

Y

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

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

Y

Upper secondary IVET programmes can also function as CVET.

Is it offered free of charge?

A tuition fee is compulsory from the age of 18.

For 2018/2018 this fee is EUR 1155

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

Information not available

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

These programmes offer two different learning pathways:

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

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

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

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

Main providers

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

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

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

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

in-company practice (internships)

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

Main target groups

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

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

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

Access requirements are:

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

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

Assessment of learning outcomes

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

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

Diplomas/certificates provided

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

Diplomas are recognised by the education and training and labour authorities

Examples of qualifications

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

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

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

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

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

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

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Y

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

General education subjects

Y

Dutch language, basic maths

Key competences

Information not available

Application of learning outcomes approach

Information not available

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

25% of learners in upper secondary VET programmes

EQF 4

Middle management

VET programmes,

3-4 years

ISCED 354

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

354

Usual entry grade

13

Usual completion grade

15

Usual entry age

16 to 17

Usual completion age

19 or 20

Length of a programme (years)

3 to 4

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

Y

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

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

Y

Upper secondary IVET programmes can also function as CVET.

Is it offered free of charge?

A tuition fee is compulsory from the age of 18.

For 2018/2018 this fee is EUR 1155.

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

Information not available

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

These programmes offer two different learning pathways:

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

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

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

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

Main providers

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

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

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

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

in-company practice (internships)

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

Main target groups

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

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

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

Access requirements are:

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

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

Assessment of learning outcomes

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

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

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

Diplomas/certificates provided

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

(MBO 4 –middenkaderopleiding middelbaar beroepsonderwijs).

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

Examples of qualifications

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

Examples: planner installations, dental nurse, catering manager.

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

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

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Progression is possible to:

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

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

Awards through validation of prior learning

Y

General education subjects

Y

English, Dutch language, basic math

Key competences

Information not available

Application of learning outcomes approach

Information not available

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

54% of learners in upper secondary VET programmes

VET available to adults (formal and non-formal)

Programme Types
Not available