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General themes

VET in Romania comprises the following main features:

  • VET has a double role: promoting economic and social development in the country; it supports addressing challenges linked to very low participation in lifelong learning and a high share of early leavers from education and training;
  • training standards were updated in 2016 to increase the relevance of qualifications to the labour market.

Since 2017/18, a dual form of initial VET has also been available; participation is growing but still low.

Distinctive features ([1]Cedefop (2019). Spotlight on vocational education and training in Romania. Luxembourg: Publications Office.
http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/files/8128_en.pdf
):

Distinctive features of initial VET are its inclusiveness, with pathways among different levels of learning and between vocational and more academic tracks, and its focus on easing progression and avoiding dead ends. Reflecting the double role of VET in promoting economic as well as social development, initial VET’s main goals are to ensure:

  • learners’ personal and professional development;
  • equal access opportunities to VET;
  • high-quality provision, organisation and development.

Initial VET qualifications are based on training standards which describe the training process in units of learning outcomes and include, for each unit, an assessment standard. The standards were revised in 2016, to help increase VET labour market relevance by ensuring a better match between qualifications and the reality of working life after graduation.

Creating sector committees, which represent the various sectors of the economy, made the involvement of social partners in designing and assessing vocational qualifications more systemic. To ease education planning, social partners also participate in partnerships at regional level (regional consortia) and local level (local committees for social partnership development in VET).

During the past decade, Romania has developed a system for validating non-formally or informally acquired skills and competences. In line with guidelines adopted by the National Authority for Qualifications, procedural arrangements have been put in place to create a network of providers acting as validation/assessment centres. These centres are active in more than half of the counties.

Investments to support the institutional development of education and training are still few.

The main challenges are unequal access to education and training and the high rate of early leaving; this particularly affects children in rural areas, from poor communities, and Roma. The 2015-20 Strategy to reduce early school leaving was developed to address these challenges, and a mechanism will be established for early warning and intervention that will help detect young learners at risk of leaving school.

Another challenge is to reduce youth unemployment by fostering skills acquisition and securing smooth and sustainable transitions from education and training to the labour market.

The National Centre for Technical and Vocational Education and Training Development introduced the dual form as part of initial VET, leading to a level 3 EQF qualification; it will be extended to levels 4 and 5 EQF. The VET Strategy 2016-20 aims for better links between VET provision and labour market demand. In this respect the centre will launch in 2019 an ESF-funded project that will develop:

  • a mechanism for quality-assuring work-based learning and certification of learning outcomes;
  • a mechanism to adjust the education and training offer to labour market demand;
  • a monitoring system for initial VET graduates;
  • a mechanism for identifying, rewarding and promoting excellence in initial VET.

Continuing VET also addresses the unemployment challenge, with variable duration training programmes linked to labour market needs; depending on the EQF qualification level addressed, these can be from 180 hours for level 1 to 1 080 for level 4.

Participation in lifelong learning is the lowest in the EU and has slightly fallen since 2013. The attractiveness of CVET, and the participation of adults in it, are also of concern. The 2015-20 Strategy for lifelong learning is currently addressing these challenges with a number of actions to increase participation in training, improve recognition of prior learning (including non-formal and informal), increase the quality and relevance of training through a new act on quality assurance in adult learning, and coordinate stakeholder actions. In November 2018, the labour ministry developed a list of elementary occupations giving unskilled adults access to participation in programmes leading to qualifications at EQF level 1, such as six-month apprenticeship programmes.

Data from VET in Romania Spotlight 2019 ([2]Cedefop (2016). Spotlight on vocational education and training in Romania. Luxembourg: Publications Office.
http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/files/8128_en.pdf
).

Population in 2018: 19 530 631 ([3]NB: Data for population as of 1 January; break in series. Eurostat table tps00001 [extracted 16.5.2019].)

It decreased since 2013 by 2.4% due to negative natural growth and emigration ([4]NB: Data for population as of 1 January; break in series. Eurostat table tps00001 [extracted 16.5.2019].).

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

The old-age dependency ratio is expected to increase from 25 in 2015 to 57 in 2060 ([5]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.

Participation in secondary education has been decreasing, leading to optimisation of the school network: merging, and sometimes closing, schools.

Since 2012/13, the number of VET upper secondary schools has decreased by 8.5% ([6]INS-TEMPO-online database: education units, by categories of units, ownerships, macro regions, development regions and counties [SCL101A] at the beginning of school year; exclude ‘vocational’ high schools (military, theology, sports, music, visual arts, theatre, cultural heritage, choreography, pedagogy).). School network optimisation required offering additional transportation for learners; this issue is addressed by local authorities.

The country is multicultural. According to the most recent census, 88.9% of the population declared themselves as Romanians, 6.1% as ethnic Hungarians and 3% as Roma ([7]INS (2011). Recensământul Populaţiei şi al Locuinţelor [Census of population and housing].
http://www.recensamantromania.ro/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/REZULTATE-DEFINITIVE-RPL_2011.pdf
). Their residential density varies across the country.

For the Hungarian population enrolled in initial VET, teaching may also be provided in Hungarian.

Most companies are micro and small-sized.

Services are the main economic sector in terms of contribution to gross value added to the national economy. They accounted for 62.7% of all economic activities in 2017. The share of industry was 32.5% and agriculture 4.8% ([8]NB: Provisional data. Source: Eurostat table, nama_10_a10 [extracted 7.3.2019].).

The main export sectors are:

  • machinery/mechanical appliances, electronics, electrical equipment and its parts (28.4% of total export in 2017); 
  • transportation means and associated equipment (18.1%);
  • base metals and their products (8.5%).

Employers value formal qualifications that are often a prerequisite for hiring qualified staff.

Total unemployment ([9]Percentage of active population, 25 to 74 years old.) in 2018: 3.3% (6.0% in EU 28); it decreased by 1.0 percentage point since 2008 ([10]Eurostat table une_rt_a [extracted 20.5.2019].).

 

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

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

 

Unemployment is distributed unevenly between those with low- and high-level qualifications, but the gaps are small. The differences are bigger for the age group 15-24. There, people with higher qualifications (ISCED levels 5-8) were more exposed to unemployment than those with lower qualifications (ISCED levels 0-2) during the economic crisis years.

Unemployment levels have been steady since the pre-crisis period; ISCED level 5-8 graduates were affected the most by the crisis. In 2018, the unemployment rate of people with medium-level qualifications, including most VET graduates (ISCED levels 3 and 4), was lower compared to the pre-crisis years. It was similar to the total unemployment rate ([11]Percentage of active population, 25 to 74 years old.) in Romania (3.3%).

The employment rate of 20 to 34-year-old VET graduates increased from 77.5% in 2014 to 79.5% in 2018 ([12]Eurostat table edat_lfse_24 [extracted 16.5.2019].).

 

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

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

 

The increase (+2.0pp) in employment of 20-34 year-old VET graduates at ISCED levels 3 and 4 in 2014-18 was slower compared to the increase in employment of all 20-34 year-old graduates (+2.8 pp) in the same period in Romania ([13]NB: Breaks in time series. Source: Eurostat, edat_lfse_24 [extracted 16.5.2019].).

However, the employment rate of 20-34 year-old VET graduates at ISCED levels 3 and 4 in 2018 in Romania (79.5%) was higher compared to the employment rate of all 20-34 year-old graduates in the same year (76.7%).

In 2018, the share of population aged 25 to 64 with upper secondary education including vocational education (ISCED levels 3 and 4) was 60.7%, the fourth highest in the EU.

The share of 25-64 year-olds with low or without education was 21.5%, slightly less than the EU average. 17.8% of the population had a higher education diploma.

 

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

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

 

Share of learners in VET by level in 2017

lower secondary

upper secondary

post-secondary

not applicable

56.2%

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 (57.9% in 2016 in upper secondary education), except at post-secondary level ([14]Source: Eurostat tables educ_uoe_enrs01, educ_uoe_enrs04 and educ_uoe_enrs07 [extracted 26.2.2019].).

Romanian initial VET offer is provided within:

  • the professional school (three-year VET programme, leading to level EQF level 3 qualification), and the dual initial VET that is currently provided at EQF level 3;
  • technological high schools / colleges (four-year technological programmes leading to EQF level 4, ISCED 354 (liceu tehnologic);
  • technological high schools / colleges (one- to three-year higher VET programmes leading to a professional qualification at EQF level 5, ISCED 453).

There are three main study fields: technical, services, natural resources and environmental protection.

Males prefer the technical field, whereas females enrol more often in services and natural resources and environmental protection.

The share of early leavers from education and training has decreased from 16.6% in 2009 to 16.4% in 2018. In 2009-18, it has been above the national target for 2020 of not more than 11.3% and the EU-28 average (10.6% in 2018).

 

Early leavers from education and training in 2009-18

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

 

Drop-out rate ([15]School dropout rate is the difference between the number of learners enrolled at the beginning and registered at the end of the same school year divided by the total number of learners enrolled at the beginning of the school year.) among VET learners is higher compared with general education and is predominant among groups at risk: young people in rural communities and/or from low-income families, Roma and other minorities, and those required to repeat the same grade because of poor performance. There are also disparities between regions. For example, in the north-east region drop-out is 23.6% compared with 11.3% in the west region. It is also 1.5 times higher in rural than in urban areas in lower secondary education ([16]Ministry of National Education (2015). Strategy to reduce early school leaving 2015-20, approved by Government Decision No 417/2015.
https://edu.ro/strategia-privind-reducerea-p%C4%83r%C4%83sirii-timpurii-%C8%99colii-%C3%AEn-rom%C3%A2nia
) ([17]Eurostat, edat_lfse_16 [extracted 17.9.2018].).

The 2015-20 strategy ([18]Ministry of National Education (2015). Strategy to reduce early school leaving 2015-20. Approved by Government Decision No 417/2015.
https://edu.ro/strategia-privind-reducerea-p%C4%83r%C4%83sirii-timpurii-%C8%99colii-%C3%AEn-rom%C3%A2nia
) aims to address the issue of early leaving from education and training. It combines prevention, intervention (especially at school and learner levels) and compensation measures.

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

 

Participation in lifelong learning in 2014-18

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

 

Participation in lifelong learning in Romania has decreased from 1.5% in 2014 to 0.9% in 2018. It is below the EU28 average and Romania’s objective 2020 of at least 10% ([19]https://eacea.ec.europa.eu/national-policies/eurydice/content/lifelong-learning-strategy-64_en)

Discussions between national policy makers and Cedefop ([20]On 26 and 27 September 2018, in Bucharest.) have revealed how citizens perceive participation in lifelong learning. While official certificates/diplomas are highly valued by learners and employers, non-formal training not offering such certificates is not always seen by learners as lifelong learning and is possibly not reported as such to the statistical authorities.

Participation in initial VET

 

Number of learners in public schools

 

 

2017/18

2013/14

Age

three-year programmes

(ISCED-P 352, învățământ profesional) ([21]The figures for 2013/14 relate to the two-year professional programmes organised after the ninth grade of technological high school that have been replaced starting with the school year 2014/15 with the current three-year professional programmes organised after grade 8.)

87 841

26 361

14/15-16/17

Out of which: short VET programmes (ISCED-P 352)

671

2 056

 

four-year technological programmes

(ISCED-P 354, liceu tehnologic)

266 031

376 963

14/15-18/19

four-year vocational programmes

(ISCED-P 354, EQF level 4)

50 915

49 395

14/15-18/19

Upper secondary education (total including general, vocational, technological and professional programmes)

715 151

786 815

17-18/19

post-secondary VET programmes (ISCED-P 453),

51 973

55 296

18/19+

Source: National Institute of Statistics, education statistics for school years 2013/14 and 2017/18): high school education at the beginning of school year; professional, post-high school and foremen school at the beginning of school year.

The education and training system comprises:

  • early education (ISCED level 0):
    • early pre-school level (age up to three);
    • pre-school education (age three to six);
  • primary education (ISCED level 1):
    • preparatory grade (age six to seven);
    • grades 1 to 4;
  • secondary education (ISCED levels 2 and 3):
    • lower secondary education (ISCED 2, grades 5 to 8) ([22]Also called ‘gymnasium’ (gimnaziu).)
    • upper secondary education (ISCED 3) ([23]Also called ‘secondary superior education’.), which comprises VET programmes;
  • post-secondary VET programmes (ISCED level 4) ([24]Postliceu.)
  • higher education (ISCED levels 5, 6, 7, and 8).

Early education is not compulsory and is divided into early pre-school level (age up to three), and pre-school education (age three to six).

Compulsory education starts at primary school (age six) and it includes primary, lower secondary and the first two years of upper secondary education (grades 9 and 10), for a total of 11 years.

Primary education is divided into a preparatory grade (age six to seven), and in grades 1 to 4 (ages 7 to 11). Secondary education is divided into lower secondary education (ISCED level 2, grades 5 to 8, ages 11 to 15) ([25]Gimnaziu.), and upper secondary education (ISCED level 3, from grade 9 and age 15 onwards).

After completing lower secondary education, learners continue their studies in upper secondary education, in any of the following programmes: general, vocational, technological or school-based VET.

Higher education has no formal VET programmes. However, some bachelor and master programmes are more practice/technical-oriented than others.

Ethnic minorities have the right to study in their mother tongue in all types, forms and levels of education (including tertiary). Special needs education is provided based on type and degree of needs identified, either in regular or specialised schools. School boards may decide to provide activities after classes. Private education and training is organised by education institutions, at all levels and forms, according to current legislation.

Initial and continuing VET are regulated by the government.

Initial VET

Initial VET is provided at upper secondary and post-secondary levels. Qualifications can be acquired in upper secondary VET through vocational, technological and school-based programmes.

At upper secondary level, there are four types of VET programme:

  • four-year technological programmes (liceu tehnologic, ISCED level 354). They offer graduates an upper secondary school-leaving diploma and the EQF level 4 ‘technician’ qualification ([26]A qualifications certificate and, after passing a qualifications examination, a Europass supplement to the certificate.);
  • four-year vocational programmes (liceu vocational, ISCED level 354). They provide graduates with a professional qualification in military, theology, sports, arts and pedagogy as well as with an upper secondary school-leaving diploma at EQF level 4; 
  • three-year school-based VET programmes (învățământ profesional, , ISCED level 352) ([27]Available since 2014/15, approved by the Education Minister Order No 3136/2014.). They may be offered as initial dual VET, and they provide graduates with a professional qualification ([28]A qualifications certificate and, after passing a qualifications exam, a Europass supplement to the certificate.) of ‘skilled worker’ at EQF level 3;
  • short VET programmes (stagii de practica, ISCED level 352). They provide learners, who have completed two years of a technological programme (grade 10) with a professional qualification at EQF level 3, after 720 hours of practical training.

Post-secondary VET provides one- to three-year higher VET programmes (ISCED level 453), leading to a professional qualification at EQF level 5.

Initial VET learners may choose between the following study forms:

  • daytime learning (most popular); 
  • evening classes ([29]The three-year professional programmes are organised only as daytime learning.);
  • work-based learning;
  • dual form.

Continuing VET

Continuing VET (also known as adult vocational training) ([30]Regulated by Government Ordinance No 129/2000 on adult vocational training and other acts.) is available for learners from age 16. Training programmes help develop competences acquired in the existing qualification, the acquisition of new competences in the same occupational area, the acquisition of fundamental/key competences or new technical competences, specific to a new occupation.

It is provided by authorised private and public training organisations ([31]Also by individuals (trainers for adults, formatori de adulti) acting as vocational training providers.) considering the needs of employers and basic skills needs of adults in the form of:

  • apprenticeship at workplace;
  • traineeship for higher education graduates;
  • adult training courses.

Apprenticeship at workplace

The public employment service has been managing continuing ‘apprenticeship at workplace’ programmes since 2005 ([32]Currently apprenticeships are provided according to Law No 279/2005 (last amendments in November 2018).). They are only available in continuing VET and are legally distinct from the dual form offered in initial VET. Apprenticeships offer adults (16+, minimum legal age for employment) a professional qualification at EQF levels 1 to 4.

Traineeship for higher education graduates

Traineeship for higher education graduates is regulated by the law on traineeships (No 335/2013) and the Labour Code (No 53/2003). After graduation from a higher education institution, learners may take six-month traineeship programmes to practice their profession in a real work environment. This does not apply in some professions, such as doctors, lawyers, and notaries, for whom special legislation provides different opportunities. This process is subsidised by the government. Employers may apply for the public employment service subsidy of approximately EUR 483 per month (RON 2 250) for each trainee for the duration of the programme.

Adult training courses

Adult training courses are offered by authorised training providers or by employers to adults willing to obtain a qualification, specialisation or key competences:

  • authorised courses for the unemployed, employees, people who resume work after maternity leave or long sickness leave, Roma, groups at risk and other groups;
  • courses organised by employers for their staff without issuing nationally recognised certificates;
  • internship and specialisation, including periods of learning abroad;
  • all other forms of training.

Since 2017/18, a dual form of ‘professional’ VET has also been available ([33]Based on the Government Emergency Ordinance No 81/2016.). In this, the municipality (local authority) engages in the partnership agreement alongside the standard contract concluded in regular school-based VET programmes between school, employer and learner (or legal representative). Companies are also obliged to pay dual VET learners a monthly allowance that is not less than that provided by the government. Other features are equal to work-based learning in school-based programmes. The share of learners in dual VET was 1.5% of the total VET population enrolled at upper secondary level in the school year 2017/18.

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

Governance in initial VET

Ministry of National Education

The education ministry designs and executes legislation in cooperation with stakeholders (academia, trade unions, teachers associations, students, parents, public administration, businesses and NGOs).

It approves financing and enrolment plans, it awards VET certificates (both in initial and continuing ([34]For continuing VET, certificates are awarded by both labour and education ministries.) VET), and it coordinates national exams.

It approves methodology for teacher enrolment, career advancement and transfers, and approves curricula through subordinate bodies, including school inspectorates.

National Centre for Technical and Vocational Education and Training Development

The centre is accountable to the education ministry. It:

  • evaluates and suggests changes to policies and strategies, and coordinates their implementation;
  • coordinates the design, implementation and review of national curricula, assessment and certification for the initial VET component;
  • supervises the development of professional training standards for qualifications validated by sectoral committees (coordinated by the National Authority for Qualifications) and approved by the education ministry;
  • develops methodologies for the quality assurance and monitoring of programmes.

Romanian Agency for Quality Assurance in Pre-university Education

It is in charge of authorisation (licence), accreditation and external quality evaluation of schools at pre-university education level, including initial VET schools.

Institute of Educational Sciences

It is a national institution for research, development, innovation and training in education and youth. It:

  • establishes and coordinates working groups for the development and review of the national curriculum component;
  • develops various learning and curriculum resources.

Regional consortia ( [35]According to Order of the Ministry of Education No 4456/2015 for the approval of general framework of organisation and functioning of consultative partnership structures in VET.)

They are advisory partnership bodies of the National Centre for Technical and Vocational Education and Training Development. They update, implement and monitor regional education action plans.

County school inspectorates

They propose to the education ministry the VET enrolment plan for the next school year. This is based on proposals from schools and taking into consideration labour market needs, defined through direct requests from employers. The inspectorates also organise the national recruitment of teachers, including VET.

Local committees for development of social partnerships

They are advisory managerial structures that aim at improving VET relevance and quality.

Teaching staff resource houses( [36]Casa Corpului Didactic (CCD).)

They organise continuing teacher training. There is one in each county and in the municipality of Bucharest. The teaching staff resource houses are subordinated to the education ministry.

County centres for resources and education assistance

The centres support learners with special needs, including those in VET. There is one in each county and in Bucharest. The centres are under the control of the education ministry.

Local authorities

They:

  • support the implementation of national strategies on education;
  • ensure the joint financing of projects sponsored by the EU and other funds;
  • maintain school infrastructure.

VET school administration boards

They approve institutional development plans, local/school-based curricula and teacher training plans proposed by their schools.

Commissions for quality assurance and evaluation

In each VET school, a Quality Assurance and Evaluation Commission is appointed to supervise all quality assurance processes and activities, in line with the quality assurance law ([37]Law 87/2006.).

Governance in continuing VET

 

Ministry of Labour and Social Justice

The labour ministry develops and promotes policies in continuing VET, including training for the unemployed, apprenticeship at the workplace, actions for NEETs (not in employment, education and training) and traineeship for graduates of higher education.

It coordinates the authorisation of continuing VET providers, and it manages and updates the nomenclature of qualifications.

It also monitors, analyses, controls, and evaluates vocational training for the unemployed.

National and county agencies for employment

The National Agency for Employment coordinates vocational training of jobseekers at national level, carried out by the county employment agencies.

National Authority for Qualifications

It is responsible for:

  • the national qualifications framework;
  • the national registers of:
    • qualifications in higher education;
    • professional qualifications;
  • centres for the evaluation and certification of professional competences obtained outside formal education;
  • evaluators of competences, external evaluators and evaluators of evaluators.

The authority ensures the link between the standards used for defining qualifications and labour market needs, provides assistance for development of occupational standards, and registers the standards in the national register of professional qualifications in education.

The authority also approves the occupational standards for continuing VET, and endorses the professional training standards used in initial VET programmes.

County authorisation commissions

They are in charge of authorisation and monitoring of training providers, and they decide on the examination commissions at county level. County authorisation commissions are set up by the labour ministry.

Continuing VET providers

Adult vocational training providers carry out vocational training, after authorisation by the county commission ([38]In line with Government Ordinance No 129/2000.).

In 2009, total public expenditure on education and training reached 4.24% of GDP. It fell significantly in 2010-11 due to the economic crisis, and it reached 3.6% in 2017. The National Law on Education of 2011 targets 6%, but this objective is not likely to be achieved before 2025.

In 2018, per capita financing was as follows ([39]Approximate values, based on euro exchange rate.).

  • three-year ‘professional’/school-based programmes (all qualifications): EUR 1 115. Programmes offered in minority language(s): EUR 1 143; 
  • four-year technological programmes (all qualifications): EUR 1 057. Programmes offered in minority language(s): EUR 1 101;
  • four-year vocational programmes (except music and sports): EUR 1 330. Programmes offered in minority language(s): EUR 1 403.

The budget for education and training, including VET, is approved annually. The financing mechanism ([40]Government Decision No 72/2013 on the approval of the methodological norms for determining the standard cost per learner and the establishment of the basic financing of the State pre-university education units. This ensured from the State budget, from sums deducted from VAT through the local budgets, based on the standard cost per learner (last updated by Government Decision No 30/2018).) comprises per capita expenditure supplemented by coefficients (such as for rural/urban areas, number of students and climate area ([41]This refers to geographic areas with difficult weather conditions, especially during winter.), EQF level, type of programme, total number of learners in the school, teaching language).

Financing is provided to schools by the education ministry from the State budget (main source: value added tax) based on actual enrolment. It covers:

  • wages, allowances; 
  • staff continuous training;
  • learner assessment expenditure;
  • materials, services and maintenance.

The basic financing of a school unit is obtained by multiplying the standard cost per pupil by the specific coefficients mentioned above. This is approved annually by Government decision.

VET in public schools is free of charge. The State also provides financing for accredited private and religious education institutions to the same level as for public VET schools. In private education, institution learners pay fees.

Continuing VET is financed by ([42]According to Government Ordinance No 129/2000.):

  • employers/enterprises; 
  • unemployment insurance budget;
  • EU structural and cohesion instruments;
  • personal contributions;
  • other sources.

Jobseekers benefit from free continuing training financed by the unemployment insurance budget. The budget also provides subsidies to employers who provide continuing VET (apprenticeship, traineeship and vocational training programmes).

Initial VET

There are two teaching positions in initial VET:

  • teacher; 
  • practical training instructor ([43]Maistru instructor.).

Requirements for VET teachers are the same as for teachers in general education.

At upper secondary and post-secondary VET, teachers require both:

  • a master degree in a field related to the VET qualification(s) they teach;
  • two psycho-pedagogical modules, totalling 60 ECTS ([44]Ministry of National Education (2017). Order No 3850/2017 regarding the mandatory certification of teaching competences.), that can be obtained either during higher education studies (by enrolling for one module of 30 ECTs during the bachelor programme and for the second module of 30 ECTS during the master programme), or after graduation, by enrolling for both modules within a university department for Teacher Training.

Practical training instructors must have:

  • a post-secondary education diploma in a field related to the VET qualification(s) they teach;
  • psycho-pedagogical training of 30 ECTS provided by a higher education institution ([45]Usually by the Department for the Teaching Staff Training within an accredited higher education institution.).

To become a certified teacher, new employees have two class inspections and produce a professional portfolio; this is an elimination stage, followed by the so-called teacher-confirmation exam ([46]Definitivat.) in the subject they will teach and its methodology, 12 months after their initial employment. During this period, they are supported by an experienced mentor and enjoy the same rights as other teachers with a labour contract. If they fail to pass the exam after 12 months, they may have another two attempts within a five-year period. The share of qualified VET teachers and instructors (vocational theoretical subjects or practical training) is 98.75% of the total teaching staff in initial VET ([47]Based on data from National Institute of Statistics for the school year 2017/18.).

Continuing VET

Continuing vocational training programmes are provided by trainers with a profile or specialisation relevant to the training programme. They should have:

  • the national qualifications framework level of education equal to or higher than the level of the training programme they undertake; 
  • a qualification in the training programme's field of activity;
  • any form of certificate for the following occupations: instructor/trainer/trainer of trainer or the certificates for the teaching profession (60 ECTs ([48]Ministry of National Education (2017). Order No 3850/2017 regarding the mandatory certification of teaching competences.) ).

Continuing professional development of teachers and instructors is a right defined by the Law of National Education ([49]Education Law No 1/2011, Title IV, Chapter 1, Section 2: Initial and continuous teacher training; the teaching career.) that supports career advancement and professional development. Advancement in a teaching career is ensured by acquiring the relevant degrees:

  • the second teaching degree is awarded after at least four years of service (after passing the teacher-confirmation exam ([50]Definitivat.) ), undergoing at least two school inspections and passing an exam in methodology and main subject ([51]The Ministry of National Education provides rules for promotion and methodologies for the exams.); 
  • the first teaching degree is awarded after at least four years after awarding the second degree, undergoing at least two school inspections and defending orally a written thesis ([52]Regulation No 1/2011, Article 242.).

Professional development is compulsory by participation in accredited training courses (teachers have to gather minimum 90 ECTS every five years). The training is provided by public and private education institutions and by NGOs, and can be partially or fully covered by the State budget.

To supply the labour market with VET qualifications that are relevant, the National Centre for Technical and Vocational Education and Training Development, supported by stakeholders and experts, has developed a strategic planning model for VET supply, approved by the education ministry.

Its main objective is to increase the contribution of VET in an efficient transition to an inclusive, participatory, competitive and knowledge-based economy that relies on innovation.

The term ‘strategic planning’ refers to a medium-term (five to seven years) forecast. The model analyses the relevance of supply to the (forecast) labour market demand from quantitative and qualitative perspectives and using the following sources:

  • regional education action plans; 
  • local (county) education action plans;
  • school action plans.

Regional education action plans (set out by the regional consortia) and local education action plans (by the local committees for development of social partnerships) include:

  • analysis of the regional/county context from the point of view of demographic, labour market and economic changes and forecast 
  • analysis of the capacity of VET to serve the identified needs of the labour market in the regional/county contexts;
  • priorities, targets and actions for VET development at regional/county level;
  • the contribution of higher education to regional development.

Desk research is carried out by regional consortia and members of local committees for development of social partnerships who analyse:

  • the national development plan; 
  • the national strategy for human resources development;
  • regional development plans;
  • VET strategies and action plans;
  • the national strategy for employment;
  • labour market and training demand and supply forecasts;
  • company surveys on short-term (six months) labour demand.

The model is based on decentralised decision-making at regional, county and local levels. Strategic planning is characterised by the collective action of multiple social partners, representing the interests of employers, professional associations, employees/trade unions, public administration, relevant government and civil society organisations.

The model combines top-down and bottom-up decision-making processes as demonstrated in the figure below, involving regional consortia at regional level, local committees for development of social partnerships at county level, and school boards at local area level.

 

Anticipating skills: planning levels

Source: National Centre for Technical and Vocational Education and Training Development.

 

See also Cedefop’s skills forecast ([53]http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/en/publications-and-resources/data-visualisations/skills-forecast) and European skills index ([54]https://skillspanorama.cedefop.europa.eu/en/indicators/european-skills-index)

Initial VET qualifications

Initial VET qualifications (excluding vocational programmes) are based on training standards. The national qualifications register currently comprises 131 qualifications at EQF level 3, 69 at EQF level 4 and 203 at EQF level 5.

 

Training standards ([55]Standard de pregatire profesionala) describe learning units consisting of learning outcomes and are based on occupational standards. Training standards are developed by representatives of companies from the corresponding sectors and of VET providers, with the methodological support of the National Centre for Technical and Vocational Education and Training Development, endorsed by National Authority for Qualifications. They are validated by employers and other social partners through sectoral committees. The revision of standards is carried out at least every five years or at the request of economic operators.

 

From training needs to curricula

Source: National Centre for Technical and Vocational Education and Training Development.

 

Training standards

Training standards play a key role in designing VET curricula, assessing learning outcomes and awarding qualification certificates.

To design the training standards and to establish units of learning outcomes in its structure, one or more occupational standards concerned with the qualification need to be analysed as a starting point.

Each training standard comprises:

  • introduction: description of qualification, occupation(s) the standard leads to; 
  • list of competences as in occupational standard(s) or considering recommendations of the sectoral committees, company representatives or other interested parties;
  • learning outcomes units (a learning unit consists of a coherent set of learning outcomes) for the qualification:
    • general (e.g. maths, language, sciences) and occupational learning outcomes; 
    • minimum equipment requirements for each learning outcome unit;
    • assessment standard for each learning outcome unit.

Core and local curriculum

Curricula for each qualification have two main components:

  • core curriculum designed at national level by education working groups; 
  • local (school) curriculum designed by schools and local businesses to adapt training to the requirements of the local and regional labour market.

The share of national and local curricula varies by qualification level. At EQF level 3, 20% of learning time is reserved for the local curriculum and 80% for national; at EQF level 4, the share is 30% for the local curriculum and 70% for national. At EQF level 5, all curricula are national.

Continuing VET qualifications

Continuing VET qualifications are based on occupational standards, validated by the sectoral committees and approved by the National Authority for Qualifications.

An occupational standard is a national instrument describing professional activities and requested abilities, skills and competences necessary to practise a specific occupation, defined in terms of autonomy and responsibility, and capacity to apply specific knowledge and understanding at the workplace.

Occupational standards stipulate two types of requirement:

  • requirements linked to labour market needs in terms of skills:
    • occupation;
    • identification number from the classification of occupations;
    • qualification level;
    • specific activities to be carried out at the workplace;
    • skills and competences required to practice the occupation;
  • requirements for provision of professional training:
    • established learning content;
    • duration of training and specific requirements for the assessment;
    • access/entry requirements;
    • necessary resources to organise the training.

 

Initial VET

At national level, the law on quality assurance of education ([56]Law No 87/2006.) sets a series of basic principles applicable for all levels of pre-university education, including initial VET: focusing on learning outcomes, promoting quality improvement, protecting education beneficiaries (learners as priority), centring on the internal evaluation process (self-assessment) of providers.

Quality assurance in initial VET comprises:

  • VET school self-assessment; 
  • programme and provider authorisation and accreditation;
  • programme and provider external evaluation;
  • programme external monitoring;
  • monitoring of the quality of vocational certification exams.

The Agency for Quality Assurance in Pre-university Education is responsible for authorisation, accreditation and external evaluation of pre-university education, including initial VET. Authorisation and accreditation are compulsory for each initial VET programme:

  • authorisation (licence) grants the right to carry out the education process and to organise admission to new education and training programmes. It gives the right to operate for up to three years ([57]Before June 2018, two years (Government Emergency Ordinance No 48/2018).) after first graduation from the programme ([58]Until the programme is accredited, examinations and issuing diploma/certificates take place in another (accredited) school.); 
  • accreditation follows authorisation and grants the right to issue diplomas/certificates recognised by the education ministry and to organise graduation/certification exams. Accreditation is compulsory after three years from the date of the first graduation from the programme.

Accreditation assures that providers and programmes meet standards approved by the government and defines requirements for:

  • institutional capacity: administrative/management structures, logistics, and human resources; 
  • education effectiveness: learning facilities, equipment, human resources, the quality of the locally developed curricula, the quality of the teaching-learning-evaluation processes, financial activity;
  • quality management (strategies and procedures for quality assurance, procedures concerning the design, monitoring and review of the school action plan.

Accreditation is granted by education ministry order, based on the recommendation of the quality assurance agency.

Every five years following accreditation, initial VET providers have to be externally evaluated by the quality assurance agency. External evaluation of VET providers and programmes is a multi-criteria assessment of the extent to which a VET provider and its programmes meet the quality standards. These standards describe the requirements that define an optimal level, compared to the accreditation standards that describe the minimum level for the existence and functioning of a VET programme/ provider.

School inspectorates offer guidance and support to VET providers about the quality assurance process in initial VET. It is called external monitoring and comprises:

  • validating VET provider self-assessment reports; 
  • verifying that quality requirements are met;
  • proposing and approving improvement measures to address the identified quality assurance issues.

Self-assessment of VET providers and programmes is based on a set of quality descriptors (input, process and output), grouped in seven areas, several of which have a direct effect on the content of training and the qualifications acquired:

  • quality management; 
  • resource management (physical and human);
  • design, development and revision of training programmes;
  • teaching, training and learning;
  • assessment and certification of learning;
  • evaluation and improvement of quality.

The the Romanian Agency for Quality Assurance in Pre-university Education publishes on their website decisions containing evaluation reports and decisions approved by the education ministry.

Quality assurance in continuing VET

Quality assurance in continuing VET comprises:

  • programme and training provider authorisation; 
  • programme and training provider external evaluation;
  • training provider self-assessment;
  • programme external monitoring.

Authorisation of vocational training providers is coordinated by the labour ministry. It is made through county authorisation commissions and gives VET providers the right to issue qualification or graduation certificates with national recognition. To become authorised, training providers must meet certain eligibility conditions. Authorisation is based on the following criteria:

  • professional training programme; 
  • the resources needed to carry out the training programme;
  • experience of the training provider and results of previous work.

The training provider completes a self-assessment form that contains the name of the training programme, the occupation/qualification code, the level of qualification, the access conditions, the objectives expressed in the competences, the duration, the training plan, the evaluation modalities, the curriculum, the necessary material, and financial and human resources.

The external evaluation for authorisation is conducted by two independent specialists appointed by the county authorisation commissions. The specialists are selected from the list drawn up each year of those whose training and experience are directly related to the occupation for which authorisation is requested.

Authorisation of a training programme is based on occupational standards and professional training standards, recognised at national level and with a validity of four years.

Periodic monitoring of authorised training providers is carried out by two external specialists appointed by the county authorisation commission in the list of specialists drawn up annually. Legislation requires at least three monitoring visits during the four years that authorisation lasts.

The methodology for certification of adult vocational training includes procedures authorised vocational training providers to organise and conduct the adult vocational training programmes graduation examination; it also covers the procedures for issuing, managing and archiving certificates of qualification and graduation with national recognition. The examination committee includes two independent experts selected by the county authorisation commissions from the lists of specialists approved annually.

Validation of prior learning is done through assessment centres. The centres are local private or public bodies authorised to conduct validation procedures, for one or more occupations, developed at national level.

Since 2000, legislation on the national system for validation of non-formal and informal learning has been gradually developed and put in place ([59]Government Ordinance No129/2000, Article 45; Law of National Education No 1/2011, Article 340-34; Ministry of Education and Ministry of Labour joint Order No 468/2004 on validation procedures; Ministry of Education Order No 3629/2018 on national register of evaluators.). The National Authority for Qualifications, through the newly established National Centre for Accreditation, ([60]Government Emergency Ordinance No 49 of 26.6.2014.) coordinates and monitors the validation process. The centre is a specialised structure within the authority responsible for:

  • authorisation of the assessment centres and staff involved in validating non-formal and informal learning of adults; 
  • coordination of assessment centre activities;
  • quality assurance;
  • managing the national register of the authorised centres and national register of evaluators (evaluators of competences, evaluators of evaluators of competences, external evaluators).

The validation procedures consist of well-defined national standards, criteria and guidelines. The assessment centres develop their own assessment instruments, based on national occupational standards and/or training standards, to evaluate the candidates. They are responsible for providing validation services following specific requests by beneficiaries/candidates who can acquire full or partial qualifications at EQF levels 1, 2 and 3. Certificates of competences are nationally and internationally recognised. As part of the validation process, the centres offer information and counselling to the candidates. Currently, there are 37 fully functioning local assessment centres that can validate prior learning of candidates, mainly in services, construction and agriculture.

For more information about arrangements for the validation of non-formal and informal learning please visit Cedefop’s European database ([61]http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/en/publications-and-resources/data-visualisations/european-database-on-validation-of-non-formal-and-informal-learning).

Professional scholarship for three-year professional programmes

The professional scholarship is a national social protection programme ([62]Government Decision No 951/2017.) that offers approximately EUR 43 (RON 200) per month for all three-year professional programme learners. This scholarship can be combined with grants provided by training companies.

Dual VET allowance

In addition to a professional scholarship, dual VET learners receive at least approximately EUR 43 (RON 200) per month in allowances from the company where they undergo training. Companies also pay for work equipment for learners.

High school scholarship

High school scholarship is a national social protection programme that offers approximately EUR 54 (RON 250 since 2018/19) ([63]See the press release published on the Ministry of National Education portal: 114 million euros of European funds for education through ‘High school money’ and ‘professional bursa’ :
https://www.edu.ro/114-milioane-euro-fonduri-europene-pentru-educa%C8%9Bie-prin-%E2%80%9Ebani-de-liceu%E2%80%9D-%C8%99i-%E2%80%9Ebursa-profesional%C4%83%E2%80%9D?fbclid=IwAR2yMchXsNmQUn2wS4iTeOIzKKIjUrwbpqVYgytc4Z58OKLeTyVJuKMwA3U
) monthly financial support for upper secondary education learners in grades 9 to 12, including those in VET (technological and vocational programmes). The scholarship is linked to family income and is not available for all learners.

Euro 200 scholarship

The Euro 200 scholarship is a national programme that supports VET and other learners who otherwise cannot afford to buy a personal computer and develop their digital skills. The programme has been in place since 2004 under Law No 269/2004, granting financial aid based on social criteria. In 2018, the government spent more than EUR 2.6 million on this measure.

Local public transport

All formal education learners, including VET, receive a 50% discount for local public transportation (bus, subway and train) up to age 26. Local authorities may also partly reimburse the cost of a monthly pass for learners with special education needs, orphans or those from a children’s home/orphanage.

Apprenticeship and traineeship cost reimbursement

Employers who sign an apprenticeship ([64]Law No 279/2005 on apprenticeship.) or traineeship ([65]Law No 335/2013 on the completion of the traineeship for graduates of higher education.) contract may apply for subsidies to the public employment service ([66]ANOFM.). They can receive approximately EUR 483 (RON 2 250) per month for each apprentice/trainee for the entire duration of the programme (six months to three years in the case of apprenticeship programmes and six months in the case of traineeship). The subsidies are financed from the unemployment insurance budget or ESF.

Employers who employ graduates from initial education are eligible for a public employment service monthly grant of approximately EUR 483 (RON 2 250) for each graduate for a period of 12 or 18 months ([67]18 months for disabled people.), provided the employment is not terminated during 18 months from its start.

Tax exemption

Authorised VET providers are exempt from paying value added tax ([68]Article 58 of Government Ordinance No 129/2000 on Adult Vocational Training.) for training operations. Companies may also deduct the training costs from their taxable income ([69]Article 47 of Government Ordinance No 129/2000 on Adult Vocational Training.).

Two main strands of guidance and counselling are available, embedded in the:

  • education system (university and pre-university levels);
  • labour market services (e.g. public employment service).

Guidance and counselling include:

  • information necessary to plan, obtain and keep a job; 
  • education on careers;
  • counselling that helps understand individual goals, aspirations and the skills needed to find a job.

The national education law stipulates that:

  • in primary education, counselling is provided by the teacher in cooperation with parents and the school psychologist; 
  • in lower and upper secondary education, guidance and counselling is provided mainly by the pedagogical assistance offices in schools with more than 800 pupils.

In higher education, guidance and counselling is provided by career guidance and counselling centres in universities to aid the transition of graduates from education to work.

Most guidance and counselling staff in the education system are psychologists, teachers, sociologists and social workers. They are trained by the psychology, educational sciences, sociology and social work faculties. Many also follow post-graduate training modules in counselling and guidance, psychotherapy, management and school administration.

The Institute of Educational Sciences supports counsellors through research, working tools and information/training sessions. It is also a member of the Euroguidance network. In 2017, it published several supporting documents ([70]For example:
- contributions to two publications of the European Lifelong Guidance Policy Network: (a)
Euroguidance network’s highlights 2017: activities and achievements across Europe, (b)
Lifelong guidance policy development glossary;
- three reports on national curricula for guidance and counselling: (a) for grades 0-2, (b) for grades 5-8 and (c) for grades 9-11.
).

Within the initial VET system, the National Centre for Vocational Education and Training Development contributes career guidance and counselling activities aiming to increase the awareness of young students and their parents. The Job orientation - training in businesses and schools ([71]www.jobsproject.ro) project offers training to learners enrolled in the last years of lower secondary education and the first years of technological and professional VET programmes to help make well-informed decisions when choosing the VET or general pathway. The target groups also include teachers and companies involved in VET who need to meet the challenges of continuously changing labour markets.

The novelty in the approach to teaching is in using student-centred methods such as task-based learning, which places students in the centre of their own learning process by setting them clear tasks: identify, explore, ask questions, find answers, give solutions and seize and understand the interrelationships between life and work roles, work opportunities and career building processes.

Initially the project was piloted in two schools of one county (judet). In 2017, it expanded to 180 schools from 19 counties, involving more than 800 teachers and 9 000 pupils. The duration of the project has been extended until 2019.

Labour market services

County (judet) agencies for employment are responsible for guidance/counselling for the unemployed, older workers, young graduates, former convicts and ethnic minorities. They provide information about training and job opportunities to their target groups.

Employment agencies also draw up an individual job-matching plan for every jobseeker. Professional information and counselling is carried out in specialised centres, organised within the employment agencies, as well as by other centres and accredited public or private service suppliers, who conclude contracts with the employment agencies. With the consent of the employer, employees may benefit from guidance services for up to three months from accepting a new job.

Please also see:

Vocational education and training system chart

Tertiary

Programme Types
Not available

Post-secondary

Click on a programme type to see more info
Programme Types

EQF 5

Post-secondary

VET programmes,

WBL varies,

1-3 years

ISCED 453

One- to three-year higher VET programmes leading to a professional qualification at EQF level 5, ISCED 453
EQF level
5
ISCED-P 2011 level

453

Usual entry grade

12+

Usual completion grade

12+

Usual entry age

18+

Usual completion age

18+

Length of a programme (years)

1-3

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

N

Is it offered free of charge?
  • State budget financed/free of charge
  • some are based on fees
Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

Not applicable

Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)
  • daytime learning 
  • evening classes
  • work-based learning
Main providers
  • technological schools;
  • colleges/universities ([83]Colleges and universities provide the programmes under independent departments. These departments are called post-secondary high schools.) ([84]Both provide the programmes at the request of companies or learners.)
Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

Varies

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

Secondary school graduates

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

Secondary school graduation; the baccalaureate certificate is not required.

Assessment of learning outcomes

To complete a post-secondary VET programme, learners need to pass:

  • a written examination;
  • a practical examination;
  • project-based assessment.

All these steps form the examination for the professional qualification (EQF level 5).

All forms of examinations are learning-outcomes-oriented.

Diplomas/certificates provided

Professional qualification certificate EQF level 5 (specialised technician) (if they pass the examination) and the descriptive supplement of the certificate based on Europass.

(https://www.edu.ro/invatamant-postliceal)

Examples of qualifications

Nursing and pharmacy, optician, analyst programmer, meteorologist.

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Graduates can access the labour market.

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Information not available

General education subjects

N

However some general subjects may be part of these programmes and are usually strongly related to the domain. For example, for the qualification as general medical assistant the training standard includes theoretical subjects such as:

  • anatomy or elements of bio-chemistry that are taught in a more in-depth/specialised manner. Yet anatomy, biology, chemistry are also taught in high school, as part of general education subjects;
  • general psychology and also medical psychology, because they are necessary in their future work to know how to address patients;
  • elements of sociology, because they are necessary in their future work to know how to address patients;
  • communication in foreign language;
  • statistics/informatics/digital competences.

Other features are:

  • postsecondary education relies also on the training standards;
  • the training standards are learning-outcomes-oriented; 
  • the eight key competences are integrated in the training standards throughout the learning outcomes units/modules.
Key competences

Y

Some key competences are more emphasised, highly dependent on the qualification to be achieved; some of them are transversal.

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

All initial VET programmes are based on training standards and are learning-outcomes-oriented; practical training greatly relies on the acquisition of learning outcomes.

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

11.4% ([85]2017/18)

Secondary

Click on a programme type to see more info
Programme Types

EQF 3

School-based VET

Programmes,

WBL 50%,

3 years

ISCED 352

Three-year school-based VET programmes , including the initial dual VET, leading to EQF level 3, ISCED 352 (învățământ profesional)
EQF level
3
ISCED-P 2011 level

352

Usual entry grade

9

Usual completion grade

11

Usual entry age

15

Usual completion age

17

Length of a programme (years)

3

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

Y

for grades 9 and 10

Grade 11 is not part of compulsory education.

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

Only in public schools, up to the age of 26

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

Not applicable

Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)
  • daytime learning (most popular)
  • work-based learning
  • dual form
Main providers
  • school-based VET schools (also known as ’professional schools’) or technological schools/colleges
Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

>=50% ([74]This is an average. Work-based learning is distributed as follows: 20% in the first year, 58% in the second and 72% in the third.)

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

Programmes are available for young people and also for adults.

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

Lower secondary education certificate

Assessment of learning outcomes

Assessment is made based on the performance criteria in the training standard.

Besides the formative assessment of work-based learning (portfolio of evidence and practical demonstration) and of classroom learning (combination of written and oral examination) learners need to pass a summative assessment at the end of the training programme.

For impartiality and validity of this final examination, teachers are not allowed to assess their own students.

The summative assessment for the certification of a qualification (EQF level 3) is performed by a team of external evaluators that form an independent examination committee including: director/deputy director of the VET school, vice-president who usually is a representative of social partners, evaluation members (representative from an employer in a related-field and a VET teacher from a school other than the one students come from). The certification exam consists of a practical test and the oral presentation of the final product.

All the requirements and regulations (the general frame) for the assessment and certification of qualification in initial VET are set by the Ministry of National Education.

Assessment is learning-outcomes-oriented, stands as the reference point in the certification and is also included in the training standards approved by the Ministry of Education.

Diplomas/certificates provided

Graduates receive a professional qualification certificate as ‘skilled worker’ if they pass the qualification certification exam. Specifically, they receive a qualifications certificate and, after passing a qualifications exam, a Europass supplement to the certificate.

Graduates also receive a certificate attesting completion of compulsory education that allows access to the third year of EQF level 4 technological programmes.

Examples of qualifications

Cook, welder, baker, carpenter

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Graduates can:

  • access the labour market;
  • continue in the third year of EQF level 4 technological programmes.
Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Information not available

General education subjects

Y

Key competences

The Law of National education adopted all eight key competences within the curriculum for all learning programmes (general, vocational, technological and school-based VET programmes).

Initial VET programmes are delivered based on the general curriculum (common core for all learning programmes) and the training standards.

The training standards rely on the occupation standards.

The training standards are documents describing the competence units of a qualification that is an aggregated result of competences specific to one or more occupations, as defined by occupational standards.

In order to ensure the acquisition of the eight key competences, each training standard includes them to provide support for the general aim to ensure the personal and professional competence development of each learner.

Consequently, each training standard comprises:

  • introduction: description of qualification, occupation(s) the standard leads to;
  • list of competences as in occupational standard(s) or considering recommendations of the sectoral committees, company representatives or other interested parties;
  • learning outcomes units (a learning unit consists of a coherent set of learning outcomes) for the qualification:

(i) general (e.g. maths, language, sciences). They are common for all qualifications in the main three domains of initial VET (technical, services, agriculture and environment protection)

(ii) occupational / specialised learning outcomes. they are specific for each qualification supporting labour market immediate responsiveness.

(iii) they integrate the eight key competences

  1. communication in mother tongue (Romanian);
  2. communication in foreign language;
  3. mathematic competences and basic competences in science and technology;
  4. digital competence;
  5. learning to learn;
  6. social and civic competence;
  7. sense of initiative and entrepreneurship.

Based on the type of qualification, some of these competences are strongly emphasised, others are transversal throughout the learning/teaching process and based on the teaching methods (work in pairs, project-based tasks, scenarios for marketing, role play);

  • minimum equipment requirements for each learning outcome unit;
  • assessment standard for each learning outcome unit.
Application of learning outcomes approach

Initial VET programme is learning-outcomes-oriented and is based on the training standards that include this approach.

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

19.3% ([75]2017/18)

EQF 4

Technological programmes,

WBL 25%,

4 years

ISCED 354

Four-year technological programmes leading to EQF level 4, ISCED 354 (liceu tehnologic)
EQF level
4
ISCED-P 2011 level

354

Usual entry grade

9

Usual completion grade

12

Usual entry age

15

Usual completion age

18

Length of a programme (years)

4 ([76]The programmes comprise lower and higher cycles, two years for each.)

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

Y

for grades 9 and 10

Grades 11 and 12 are not part of compulsory education.

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

Only in public schools, up to the age of 26

Is it available for adults?

N

ECVET or other credits

Not applicable

Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)
  • daytime learning (most popular);
  • evening classes;
  • work-based learning.
Main providers
  • technological high schools
  • colleges
Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

>=25%

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

Programmes are available for young people.

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

Lower secondary education certificate

Assessment of learning outcomes

Assessment is made based on the performance criteria in the training standard.

Besides the formative assessment of work-based learning (portfolio of evidence and practical demonstration) and of classroom learning (combination of written and oral examination) learners need to pass a summative assessment at the end of the training programme.

For impartiality and validity of this final examination, teachers are not allowed to assess their own students.

The summative assessment for the certification of a qualification is performed by a team of external evaluators that form an independent examination committee including: director/deputy director of the VET school, vice-president who usually is a representative of social partners, evaluation members (representative from an employer in a related-field and a VET teacher from a school other than the one students come from). The certification exam for qualification (EQF level 4) consists of elaboration and presentation of a project (which may include also the practical elaboration of a product).

All the requirements and regulations (the general frame) for the assessment and certification of qualification in initial VET are set by the Ministry of National Education.

Assessment is learning-outcomes-oriented, stands as the reference point in the certification, and is also included in the training standards that are approved by the education ministry.

Diplomas/certificates provided

Graduates receive an upper secondary school-leaving diploma (baccalaureate diploma, if they undertake and pass the examination) and the EQF level 4 ‘technician’ qualification certificate (if they pass the qualification certification exam) in services, natural resources and environmental protection, and technical study fields. Specifically, they receive a qualifications certificate and, after passing a qualifications examination, a Europass supplement to the certificate.

Examples of qualifications

Technician in gastronomy, industrial design technician, computing technical supervisor, furniture designer.

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Graduates can:

  • access the labour market;
  • enrol in higher education after passing the baccalaureate examination;
  • opt out after completing the first two years of the programme ([77]Lower cycle, part of compulsory education.) , and enrol in a short VET programme (ISCED level 352) offering a professional qualification only.
Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Information not available

General education subjects

Y

Key competences

The Law of National education adopted all eight key competences within the curriculum for all learning programmes (general, vocational, technological and school-based VET programmes).

Initial VET programmes are delivered based on the general curriculum (common core for all learning programmes) and the training standards.

The training standards are documents describing the competence units of a qualification that is an aggregated result of competences specific to one or more occupations, as defined by occupational standards.

In order to ensure the acquisition of the eight key competences, each training standard includes them as support; the general aim is to ensure the personal and professional competence development of each learner.

Consequently, each training standard comprises:

  • introduction: description of qualification, occupation(s) the standard leads to;
  • list of competences as in occupational standard(s) or considering recommendations of the sectoral committees, company representatives or other interested parties;
  • learning outcomes units (a learning unit consists of a coherent set of learning outcomes) for the qualification:

(i) general (e.g. maths, language, sciences). They are common for all qualifications in the main three domains of initial VET (technical, services, natural resources and environment protection)

(ii) occupational / specialised learning outcomes. They are specific for each qualification supporting labour market immediate responsiveness.

(iii) they integrate the eight key competences

  • communication in Romanian;
  • communication in foreign language;
  • mathematic competences and basic competences in science and technology;
  • digital competence;
  • learning to learn;
  • social and civic competence;
  • sense of initiative and entrepreneurship. Based on the type of qualification, some of these competences are strongly emphasised, others are transversal throughout the learning/teaching process and based on the teaching methods (work in pairs, project-based tasks, scenarios for marketing, role play);
  • minimum equipment requirements for each learning outcome unit;
  • assessment standard for each learning outcome unit.
Application of learning outcomes approach

All learning programmes in the pre-university system, including initial VET, are learning-outcomes-oriented and rely on the general curriculum documents; the initial VET training standards that is structured accordingly.

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

58.3% ([78]2017/18)

EQF 3

Short VET

programmes,

WBL 100%,

720 hours

ISCED 352

Short VET programmes leading to EQF level 3, ISCED 352 (stagii de practica)
EQF level
3
ISCED-P 2011 level

352

Usual entry grade

It takes place after grade 10. But it is not considered as part of grade 11.

Usual completion grade

After grade 10 (for six months)

Usual entry age

17

Usual completion age

17

Length of a programme (years)

Six months

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

N

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

Only in public schools, up to the age of 26

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

Not applicable

Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)
  • work-based learning
Main providers
  • employers ([79]VET schools coordinate the programmes.)
  • school-based VET schools (also known as ’professional schools’)
Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

100% ([80]I.e. 720 hours of work-based learning.)

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

Programmes are available for young people and for young and early leavers from education and training.

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

Students must have completed two years of a technological programme (completed grade 10).

Young and adult early leavers from education and training can also access these programmes after completing a second chance programme.

Assessment of learning outcomes

Certification of qualifications at EQF level 3 includes elaboration and presentation of a practical test (which may include also the practical elaboration of a product).

Diplomas/certificates provided

Graduates receive a professional qualification certificate at EQF level 3 (if they pass the qualification certification exam).

Examples of qualifications

Cook

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Graduates can access the labour market.

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Information not available

General education subjects

N

Key competences

Y

Some key competences are more emphasised, highly dependent on the qualification to be achieved.

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

All initial VET programmes are learning-outcomes-oriented and practical training greatly relies on the acquisition of learning outcomes.

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

0.1% ([81]2017/18)

EQF 4

Vocational programmes,

WBL up to 15%,

4 years

ISCED 354

Four-year vocational programmes leading to EQF level 4, ISCED 354 (liceu vocational)
EQF level
4
ISCED-P 2011 level

354

Usual entry grade

9

Usual completion grade

12

Usual entry age

15

Usual completion age

18

Length of a programme (years)

4

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

Y

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

Only in public schools, up to the age of 26

Is it available for adults?

N

ECVET or other credits

Not applicable

Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)
  • daytime learning (most popular)
  • practical learning in similar learning context / work-based learning
Main providers
  • high school
  • colleges
Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

<=15%

Work-based learning type (workshops at schools, in-company training / apprenticeships)
  • practical training at school
  • practice in institutions related to vocational domains:

(i) for those studying theology, for example, they go in a church and perform specific activities;

(ii) for those enrolled in military schools they go to military departments/units and perform specific, practical tasks.

Main target groups

Programmes are available for young people.

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

Lower secondary education certificate

Assessment of learning outcomes

Project-based assessment

Diplomas/certificates provided

Graduates receive a professional qualification certificate in military, theology, sports, arts and pedagogy (if they pass the qualification certification exam) as well as an upper secondary school-leaving diploma, the baccalaureate diploma, if they enrol and pass the exam (the baccalaureate exam is not compulsory, but only after passing this exam learners may enrol in higher education/university programmes).

Examples of qualifications

Pedagogue, librarian, sports instructor, etc.

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Graduates can:

  • access the labour market;
  • enrol in higher education after passing the baccalaureate examination.
Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Information not available

General education subjects

Y

Key competences

Y

Some key competences are more emphasised, highly dependent on the qualification to be achieved.

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

All initial VET programmes are learning-outcomes-oriented and practical training greatly relies on the acquisition of learning outcomes.

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

11.2% ([82]2017/18)

VET available to adults (formal and non-formal)

Click on a programme type to see more info
Programme Types

EQF 1 to 4

Training

for the employed

Training for the employed, leading to a qualification at EQF level 1 to 4
EQF level
1 to 4
ISCED-P 2011 level

Information not available

Usual entry grade

Not applicable

Usual completion grade

Not applicable

Usual entry age

16+

Usual completion age

Not applicable

Length of a programme (years)

The duration depends on the EQF level:

  • for EQF level 1: minimum 180 hours;
  • for EQF level 2: minimum 360 hours;
  • for EQF level 3: minimum 720 hours;
  • for EQF level 4: minimum 1 080 hours.

For participants that already have the necessary set of skills, the duration of the programme may be reduced by up to 50% following initial assessment.

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

Is it part of formal education and training system?

N

Is it initial VET?

N

Is it continuing VET?

Y

Is it offered free of charge?
  • N (usually)
  • some of them are free of charge; depends on the employer if he takes over the costs and then if he requires the employee to perform activities for a minimum period of time.
Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

Not applicable.

Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)
  • adult training courses
Main providers
  • authorised private and public training organisations / employers
  • individuals (trainers for adults ([86]Formatori de adulti.)) acting as vocational training providers
Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

>=67%

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

In-company practice/training

Main target groups

Employees

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

Age 16+

Assessment of learning outcomes
  • practical tests or other types of assessment.
Diplomas/certificates provided

Qualification and graduation certificates ([87]Graduation certificates are issued at the end of around 40-hour specialisation programmes that do not provide learners with new qualification(s).)

Examples of qualifications

Information not available

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Graduates can access the labour market (it is more for upskilling/reskilling)

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Information not available

General education subjects

N

([88]There are some exceptions.)

Key competences

Key competences may be integrated/transversal.

Application of learning outcomes approach

Adult learning programmes are learning-outcomes-oriented.

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

Information not available

EQF 1 to 4

Training

for the unemployed

and other vulnerable groups

Training for the unemployed and other vulnerable groups, leading to a qualification at EQF level 1 to 4
EQF level
1 to 4
ISCED-P 2011 level

Not applicable

Usual entry grade

Not applicable

Usual completion grade

Not applicable

Usual entry age

16+

Usual completion age

Not applicable

Length of a programme (years)

The duration depends on the EQF level:

  • for EQF level 1: minimum 180 hours;
  • for EQF level 2: minimum 360 hours;
  • for EQF level 3: minimum 720 hours;
  • for EQF level 4: minimum 1 080 hours.

For participants that already have the necessary set of skills, the duration of the programme may be reduced by up to 50% following initial assessment.

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

Is it part of formal education and training system?

N

Is it initial VET?

N

Is it continuing VET?

Y

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

(provided through the National Agency for Employment and its territorial units, one in each of the 42 counties)

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

Not applicable

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

Specialised theoretical knowledge (lectures) and practical training.

The duration depends on the EQF level:

  • for EQF level 1: minimum 180 hours;
  • for EQF level 2: minimum 360 hours;
  • for EQF level 3: minimum 720 hours;
  • for EQF level 4: minimum 1 080 hours.
Main providers
  • authorised private and public training organisations;
  • individuals (trainers for adults ([89]Formatori de adulti.)) acting as vocational training providers.
Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

>=67%

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

Information not available

Main target groups

Unemployed and other vulnerable groups

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

There are no minimum entry requirements for education and training, but learners must be at least 16 years old to enrol.

Assessment of learning outcomes

Written test and practical training (portfolios)

Diplomas/certificates provided

Qualification and graduation certificates ([90]Graduation certificates are issued at the end of around 40-hour specialisation programmes that do not provide learners with new qualification(s).).

Examples of qualifications

Qualified worker in various economic fields

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Graduates can access the labour market.

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Information not available

General education subjects

N

([91]There are some exceptions.)

Key competences

Key competences may be integrated.

Application of learning outcomes approach

These programmes are learning-outcomes-oriented.

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

Information not available

EQF 1 to 4

Apprenticeship

at workplace

for adults (16+),

WBL >70%

Apprenticeship at workplace for adults, leading to a qualification at EQF level 1 to 4
EQF level
1 to 4
ISCED-P 2011 level

Information not available

Usual entry grade

Not applicable

Usual completion grade

Not applicable

Usual entry age

16+

Usual completion age

Not applicable

Length of a programme (years)

The duration depends on the EQF level:

  • for EQF level 1: minimum 180 hours;
  • for EQF level 2: minimum 360 hours;
  • for EQF level 3: minimum 720 hours;
  • for EQF level 4: minimum 1 080 hours.

For participants that already have the necessary set of skills, the duration of the programme may be reduced by up to 50% following initial assessment.

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

Is it part of formal education and training system?

N

Is it initial VET?

N

Is it continuing VET?

Y

Is it offered free of charge?

Apprenticeship is free of charge for the apprentice.

The apprentices conclude an apprenticeship contract with an employer and are remunerated while learning and working at the workplace.

The apprenticeship scheme is based on a special type of labour contract supporting work and vocational training at the workplace. Employers may apply for the public employment service subsidy of EUR~483 per month (RON 2250) for each apprentice for up to three years (the duration of the apprenticeship programme) from the unemployment insurance budget or ESF.

Training periods alternate with working time allocated for the tasks specified in the job description; the practical training of the apprentice is performed under the guidance and supervision of the training provider.

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

No credit system in adult learning

Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)
  • apprenticeship at workplace
Main providers
  • authorised private and public training organisations / employers
  • individuals (trainers for adults ([92]Formatori de adulti.)) acting as vocational training providers
Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

>=70

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

Adults (16+), the unemployed and early leavers from education and training

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

For each qualification level there are minimum entry requirements, but learners must be at least 16 years old.

Assessment of learning outcomes

Learners need to undertake a final, written examination and practical test in order to pass the professional qualification examination

Diplomas/certificates provided

Qualification and graduation certificates ([93]Graduation certificates are issued at the end of around 40-hour specialisation programmes that do not provide learners with new qualification(s).)

Examples of qualifications

Cook

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Graduates can access the labour market.

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Information not available

General education subjects

N

([94]There are some exceptions.)

Key competences

Key competences may be integrated.

Application of learning outcomes approach

These programmes are learning-outcomes-oriented.

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

Information not available

General themes

VET in Finland comprises the following main features:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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

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

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

The old-age dependency ratio is expected to increase from 31 in 2015 to 50 in 2060 ([7]Old-age-dependency ratio is defined as the ratio between the number of persons aged 65 and more over the number of working-age persons (15-64 years). The value is expressed per 100 persons of working age (15-64).). This will also force the retirement age to increase, reaching 62.4 years in 2025 ([8]In 2017 it was 61.2 years. Source: Finnish Centre for Pensions:
www.etk.fi/en/statistics-2/statistics/effective-retirement-age/
).

 

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

Source: Eurostat, proj_15ndbims [extracted 16.5.2019].

 

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

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

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

The country has two official languages, Finnish and Swedish.

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

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

Most companies are small- and medium-sized.

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

The labour market is, therefore, considered flexible.

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

This increase was slower compared with the increase in employment for the same age group graduates of all education types (+2.5pp) in the same period ([17]NB: Breaks in time series. Eurostat table edat_lfse_24 [extracted 16.5.2019].).

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

For more information about VET in higher education in Finland please see the case study from Cedefop's changing nature and role of VET in Europe projectt [18a]Cedefop (2019). The changing nature and role of vocational education and training in Europe. Volume 6: vocationally oriented education and training at higher education level. Expansion and diversification in European countries. Case study focusing on Finland. Cedefop research paper; No 70. https://www.cedefop.europa.eu/files/finland_cedefop_changing_nature_of_vet_-_case_study_0.pdf

Share of learners in VET by level in 2017

lower- secondary

upper -secondary

post-secondary

not applicable

71.6%

100%

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

Early leavers from education and training in 2009-18

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

 

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

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

 

Participation in lifelong learning in 2014-18

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

 

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

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

 

VET learners by age group in 2010-17

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

 

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

The education and training system comprises:

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

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

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

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

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

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

completing qualifications. Preparatory education and

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Study units (also known as modules)

All programmes leading to a qualification include vocational units:

• compulsory;

• optional.

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

• communication and interaction competence;

• mathematics and science competence;

• citizenship and working life competence.

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

Key competences

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

Personal competence development plan

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

Work-based learning

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

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

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

Training agreement

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

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

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

Apprenticeship training contract

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

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

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

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

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

 

Main VET stakeholders

Source: Finnish National Agency for Education.

 

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

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

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

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

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

VET providers

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

 

VET providers by ownership

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

 

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

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

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

Current financing system

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

The 2022 financing system for better performance

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

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

 

Share of VET funding elements from 2022

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

 

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

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

 

VET funding elements 2018-22 (%)

Source: Ministry of Education and Culture.

 

In VET, there are:

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

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

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

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

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

 

Teacher and trainer qualifications

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

 

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

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

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

Requirements for trainers

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Quantitative anticipation

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

Qualitative anticipation

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

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

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

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

National forum for skills anticipation

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

• natural resources, food production and the environment;

• business and administration;

• education, culture and communications;

• transport and logistics;

• hospitality services;

• built environment;

• social, health and welfare services;

• technology industry and services;

• process industry and production.

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

The VET curriculum system consists of the:

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

 

Designing VET qualifications

Source: Finnish National Agency for Education.

 

National qualification requirements

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Competence assessment plans

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

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

Learner personal competence development plan

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

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

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

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

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

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

• offering recommendations for the development of VET programmes;

• strengthening cooperation between upper secondary VET and higher education;

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

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

 

Stakeholder roles in assuring VET quality

Source: Finnish National Agency for Education.

 

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

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

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

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

Supervision of qualifications

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

The committees’ duties are:

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

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

• processing learners’ rectification requests concerning competence assessments.

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

Quality assurance of VET providers

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

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

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

Learner feedback

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

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

New quality assurance guidelines

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

• VET providers’ quality management;

• national steering of VET;

• external evaluation of VET;

except the method that VET providers may select themselves.

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

• documentation presented; or

• competence demonstration.

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

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

Financial support for full-time learners

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

Study grants

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

Housing supplement and transport subsidy

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

Government guarantees for student loans

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

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

Learning material supplement

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

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

Study leave for employees

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

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

Employment Fund support for adult learners

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

Adult education allowance

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

Scholarships for qualified employees

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Please also see:

Vocational education and training system chart

Tertiary

Programme Types
Not available

Post-secondary

Click on a programme type to see more info
Programme Types

EQF 5

Specialist VET,

WBL varies

ISCED 454

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

454

Usual entry grade

12+

Usual completion grade

12+

Usual entry age

19+

Usual completion age

19+

Length of a programme (years)

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

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

N

Is it continuing VET?

Y

Is it offered free of charge?

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

Is it available for adults?

Y

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

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

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

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

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

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

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

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

Assessment of learning outcomes

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

Diplomas/certificates provided

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

Each qualification has a number of competence points:

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

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

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Graduates can:

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

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

Awards through validation of prior learning

Y

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

General education subjects

N

All programmes leading to a qualification include vocational study units:

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

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

Key competences

N

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

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

Secondary

Click on a programme type to see more info
Programme Types

EQF 4

Initial VET programmes

WBL varies

ISCED 354

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

354

Usual entry grade

10

Usual completion grade

12

Usual entry age

16

Usual completion age

19

Length of a programme (years)

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

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

N

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

Is it available for adults?

Y

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

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

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

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

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

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

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

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

Assessment of learning outcomes

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

Diplomas/certificates provided

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

Each qualification has a number of competence points:

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

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

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Graduates can:

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

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

Awards through validation of prior learning

Y

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

General education subjects

Y

All programmes leading to a qualification include vocational study units:

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

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

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

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

Key competences

Y

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

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

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

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

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

EQF 4

Further VET,

WBL varies

ISCED 354

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

354

Usual entry grade

12+

Usual completion grade

12+

Usual entry age

19+

Usual completion age

19+

Length of a programme (years)

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

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

N

Is it continuing VET?

Y

Is it offered free of charge?

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

Is it available for adults?

Y

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

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

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

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

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

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

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

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

Assessment of learning outcomes

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

Diplomas/certificates provided

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

Each qualification has a number of competence points:

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

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

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Graduates can:

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

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

Awards through validation of prior learning

Y

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

General education subjects

N

All programmes leading to a qualification include vocational study units:

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

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

Key competences

N

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

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

VET available to adults (formal and non-formal)

Programme Types
Not available