Main features of the VET system include:
- in the last ten years participation in VET increased by more than 70% ( );
- in the same period, early leaving from education and training has considerably decreased but is still below the national target;
- in VET programmes managed by the education authorities, males are the majority of learners: 71.1% in basic VET, 56.9% in intermediate VET and 52.4% in higher VET programmes ( );
- 50% of VET learners are found in three professional branches: health, administration and management; information and communications technology; and sociocultural and community services;
- the number of apprenticeships/dual VET learners ( ) is slowly increasing but is still a minority option compared to school-based programmes.
Distinctive features ()
The Spanish constitution provides the right to education and retraining, which public authorities have to promote. Initial vocational education and training (VET) is the responsibility of education authorities; continuous training is the responsibility of employment authorities. The national system for qualifications and vocational training is the umbrella for VET programmes, leading to formal qualifications awarded by either the education or employment authorities: they share the same consultation bodies but the governance and objectives of their VET qualifications and programmes differ.
Mutual recognition of some parts of the training (modules), acquired in training programmes offered by the education or employment authorities, is possible as both take as reference the occupational standards of the national catalogue ().
VET programmes are modularised and include compulsory workplace learning at the end of, or during, studies. Learners need to pass all modules to obtain the relevant qualification. However, modularisation allows partial certification and re-engagement from a lifelong learning perspective.
The introduction of basic VET programmes (ISCED 353) and direct access to intermediate VET (ISCED 354) programmes in upper secondary have opened up progression routes for youngsters at risk of dropping out of compulsory education and, in some cases, for adults with low or no qualifications. Adults may have their skills recognised or acquire a formal qualification through training. Key competences tests have been developed for advanced VET programmes and professional certificate access. VET programmes using online or virtual learning environments and platforms are being developed to ease access to VET.
It is possible to acquire VET qualifications through dual VET. The dual principle (apprenticeship contracts or other alternance schemes) has been implemented nationally to increase VET attractiveness and support young people in transition to the labour market, though there are territorial differences in its implementation.
There are common regulations for validating skills acquired through non-formal and informal learning and work experience. These procedures empower citizens to engage in further learning and acquire full qualifications. Demand for recognition may be driven by company needs, social partner requests or minimum qualification requirements from sectoral regulatory bodies. Regional authorities can initiate public calls for validation of non-formal and informal learning, depending on local or sectoral labour market needs.
In response to the significant increase in youth unemployment in recent years, current VET policy focuses on:
- reducing early leaving from education and training;
- improving citizens’ qualification levels and employability;
- implementing the dual principle (apprenticeship-type training);
- implementing e-learning and appropriate assessment criteria and quality assurance;
- evaluating the VET system to improve its quality and efficiency;
- improving VET attractiveness, engaging companies in VET and maintaining its labour market relevance;
- aligning VET qualifications with labour market needs and skills forecasts and with sectoral needs;
- developing a comprehensive national qualifications framework and improving implementation of other European tools and principles to promote labour and training mobility and support lifelong learning.
The 2013 education reform aimed to improve VET standards and make VET more attractive to young people. It sought to meet their interests and encourage them to progress in their qualification by introducing flexible learning paths in secondary education and VET programmes.
VET is also the main pillar of the national strategy for entrepreneurship and youth employment (2013-16) and the Spanish strategy for employment activation (2014-16). Several VET-related short-term measures are being implemented at national and regional levels. The effectiveness, efficiency and quality of VET under the remit of the employment authorities are assessed annually. However, assessment results need to inform decision-making on VET offers.
The Reform of vocational training for employment within the labour sphere in 2015 aimed to increase continuing VET quality and improve management of public funds. This is to be guaranteed through accreditation of VET providers and by offering training leading to formal qualifications. Monitoring training outcomes, including transition to employment, will also support training quality; a common training database is being developed for this. Social partners and regional authorities participate in continuing VET quality assurance. ()
Population in 2018: 46 658 447 ()
Population has slightly decreased in recent years (-0.1%) (). The fall was small partly thanks to positive net migration since 2016.
As in many other EU countries, the population is ageing.
The old-age dependency ratio is expected to increase from 28 in 2015 to 54 in 2060 ().
Population forecast by age group and old-age-dependency ratio
Source: Eurostat, proj_15ndbims [extracted 16.5.2019].
Demographic changes have an impact on VET.
Medium-term forecasts indicate that an important proportion of job openings will mainly come from the need to replace workers retiring or changing occupations, which will require qualified people through VET ().
According to the constitution, Spanish is the official language of the State. Other languages, such as Basque, Catalan, Galician, or Valencian are also official in the respective Autonomous Communities. Regional authorities should ensure education in the official languages. Some VET providers also offer VET programmes in a foreign language.
Most companies are micro companies with fewer than 10 employees (90%)
Companies by number of employees in 2018
Source: INE. Companies by Autonomous Community, main activity (CNAE 2009 groups) and wage earner stratum. http://www.ine.es/jaxiT3/Tabla.htm?t=298&L=1 [extracted 14.6.19].
The economy grew by 3.1% in 2017 (), surpassing the European average and forecasts.
The Spanish economy shows a growing evolution towards a service economy, though in 2017 construction, the primary sector, and industry (primarily manufacturing) contributed more to GDP growth.
GDPmp according to components 2017 (%)
Source: INE (2018). Spain in figures 2018.
All economic sectors experienced a rise in employment in 2017, with three out of four employed workers in the service sector. In 2017, the share of employees increased by 2.6% compared to 2016. Employment grew in most branches of economic activity, especially in the primary sector (5.8%)
Employees by economic activity in 2017
Source: INE (2018). Spain in figures 2018.
The number of companies with employees grew by 1.75% compared with 2016, representing 44.45% of businesses in 2017.
A limited number of occupations/professions is regulated.
For some jobs, it is necessary to hold a certificate of professional competence (CAP, certificado de aptitud professional), for example, electrical and gas technicians. These certificates can be obtained by accrediting a full vocational qualification (VET diploma from the education system), a professional certificate (CdP, from the employment system) or partial qualification (units of competence, UC). In the absence any of these, it is also possible in some cases to receive specific training and take a test. Training providers in such cases must be recognised or certified by the authority in charge. Regional authorities are responsible for issuing certificates of professional competence (CAP).
The total unemployment rate () in 2018 was 13.9% (6% in EU-28); it has increased by 4.2 percentage points since 2008 ( ).
Unemployment rate (aged 15-24 and 25-64) by education attainment level in 2008-18
NB: Data based on ISCED 2011; breaks in time series.
ISCED 0-2 = less than primary, primary and lower secondary education.
ISCED 3-4 = upper secondary and post-secondary non-tertiary. education; ISCED 5-8 = tertiary education.
Source: Eurostat, lfsa_urgaed [extracted on 16.5.2019]
Unemployment rates correlate with education attainment. Although unemployment has been decreasing steadily since 2013, in 2018 at ISCED levels 3 and 4 (where most VET learners are found) it was still considerably higher than ten years before. For those aged 15 to 24 it is more than twice as high as in the total population with the same level qualifications ().
The employment rate of 20 to 34 year-old VET graduates increased from 67.2% in 2014 to 75.8% 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].
In 2014-18, the increase in employment of 20-34 year-old VET graduates was higher (+8.6 pp) compared to the increase in employment of all 20-34 year-old graduates (+7.8 pp) in the same period ().
The share of the adult population aged 25 to 64 with high- level qualifications (ISCED 5-8) (39.9%) is higher in Spain that in the EU-28 (32.2%). In contrast, the share of those with medium-level qualifications (ISCED 3-4) is the lowest (22.9%) in the EU-28 while the share of those up to 64 with no or low qualifications was 39.9%, one of the highest in the EU.
Population (aged 25 to 64) by highest education level attained in 2018
NB: Data based on ISCED 2011; 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
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].
There are considerably more males in education authority VET programmes at all three levels: 71.1% in basic VET ISCED 353, and 56.9% and 52.4%, respectively in intermediate and higher VET. There are significant differences between professional branches.
Female students generally prefer pathways in personal image, sociocultural and community services and health.
The maritime and fishing industry sector attracts only male students, which are also in the majority in transport and vehicle maintenance, electricity and electronics, metal working and information and communications technology.
The share of early leavers from education and training has decreased from 30.9% in 2009 to 17.9% in 2018. It is still above the national target for 2020 of not more than 15%, and the EU-28 average of 10.6%.
Early leavers from education and training in 2009-18
NB: Share of the population aged 18 to 24 with at most lower secondary education and not in further education or training.
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].
Unemployment correlates with educational attainment. Since 2013, learner dropout from schools, among the 18-24 age group without at least a medium level qualification (upper secondary), has been a major concern for education and labour authorities. Basic VET programmes, introduced in 2014, aim to offer an attractive option for learners to remain in or return to education and training.
In 2018, the share of early leavers reached 17.9%, with a fall of 13 points in the last 10 years, though it did not reach the national target of 15% in over seven regions. It is lower among women and higher in the foreign population (35.8% compared to 15.9% among Spaniards).
Early leavers from education and training in the EU-28 and Spanish regions in 2017
Source: ReferNet Spain, 2018.
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; break in series.
Source: Eurostat, trng_lfse_01 [extracted 16.5.2019].
According to the latest national survey on the participation of the adult population in learning activities (), over 47% of the population between 18 and 64 years of age carried out some type of training activity (formal or non-formal) in 2016.
The share of people in lifelong learning aged 25 to 64 in 2018 is 10.5%, slightly below the EU-28 share (11.1%).
Share of students by age and VET level in 2015/16 ()
Source: ReferNet, 2018.
In formal education, two-year VET programmes are offered at all three levels to school-age learners; programmes are also accessible to adults:
- lower secondary basic VET (ISCED 353) programmes target learners over 15; mostly at risk of dropping out; most learners (55.1%) are within the theoretical age ( ), 44.1% are older (up to 24), while the share of people over 25 enrolled in basic VET is insignificant (0.8%);
- upper secondary intermediate VET (ISCED 354) programmes are for learners aged 17-18. Almost one third (31.5%) of learners are within the theoretical age, the majority are older (44.1% are up to 24 while 20.2% are over 25);
- higher VET (ISCED 554) programmes for learners 18-19. Their age distribution with respect to the theoretical age is 19.3% within the theoretical age, 51.6% are at most 24 and 29.1% are over 25.
These data reflect a trend to re-engage in education and training to upskill for employment.
The Spanish education and training system includes:
- early childhood (ISCED 0)
- primary education (ISCED 1), six years (6-12);
- compulsory lower secondary education (ISCED 2), four years (12-16);
- post-compulsory upper secondary programmes (ISCED 3) ( )
- higher VET programmes (ISCED 5);
- higher education academic programmes (ISCED 6,7,8).
Compulsory education includes six years in primary (6-12) and four years in lower secondary (years 12-16). The age of 16 is the end of compulsory education, irrespective of the level of education achieved, but students of lower secondary education can stay on till 18 in some cases, in order to achieve a qualification.
Formal education general and vocational programmes are regulated by the Ministry of Education and Vocational Training (hereafter: education ministry). VET programmes are offered at three levels:
- lower secondary basic VET (ISCED 353) programmes target learners over 15;
- upper secondary intermediate VET (ISCED 354) programmes for learners aged 17-18;
- higher VET (ISCED 554) programmes for learners 18-19.
To prevent early leaving from education and training, since 2014 basic VET programmes have been offered to learners at age 15 to gain skills and have the opportunity to complete lower secondary education (called ESO in the national context).
Initial VET programmes in the education system are mostly school-based at basic level; at intermediate and higher VET, more flexible learning forms are also possible (distance learning)
Outside the education system, for learners over 16, the Ministry of Labour, Migrations and Social Security (hereafter: employment authority) offers training programmes to acquire (credits of) competences (partial or full vocational qualifications) recognised by the State; these can be accumulated towards a professional certificate (CdPs) issued by the employment authorities or a VET diploma issued by the education ministry. Flexible learning forms (through e-learning platforms) allow learners to combine learning with personal and professional life.
Formal IVET (under the education remit)
Following the 2013 education reform, basic VET programmes have been available since 2014 in the education system for learners at age 15, in parallel to general secondary programmes. The education team recommend these programmes to learners for whom they offer best option to complete their training and/or avoid early leaving, as well as those at risk of dropping out early. Learners follow a Two-year programme to acquire a basic vocational qualification and have the possibility, under some conditions, to obtain the end of lower secondary certificate (ESO diploma) which ends compulsory education. Direct access to intermediate VET is possible with or without the ESO diploma.
Formal VET programmes run on two other levels: upper secondary intermediate VET (ISCED 354) and tertiary higher VET (ISCED 554). They deliver VET qualifications (VET diplomas) that have academic and professional validity.
Education authority VET programmes are modularised and include compulsory workplace learning at the end of, or during, studies. Learners need to pass all modules to obtain the relevant qualification. However, modularisation allows partial certification and re-engagement from a lifelong learning perspective.
Artistic, sports and foreign language education have their own organisation and are considered ‘specialised education’. Specific training programmes in arts and design and in sports are offered at ISCED levels 354 and 554 in schools, specialised according to the field of studies and level of education concerned. Foreign language education is organised according to the European Framework for learning, teaching and assessment of languages (CERF) ().
Formal CVET (under the employment remit) Formal vocational qualifications (professional certificates, CdPs) are also offered by the employment authorities to learners over 16; professional certificates are recognised by the State. These programmes can be delivered face-to-face or as blended learning. In the latter, the State public employment service uses experts’ opinions to set the duration of instruction that will be provided in person according to the nature of the content or the need to use certain equipment or machinery. Learning which cannot take place via simulation must be completed in traditional learning settings, as must all final assessments.
Common characteristics of IVET and CVET qualifications
Both types of formal qualification, VET diplomas and professional certificates, are expressed in learning outcomes (resultados de aprendizaje o realizaciones profesionales) and are modular in nature. They are based on occupational standards listed in the national catalogue of occupational standards (CNCP) ().
Learning forms (education authority VET):
- school-based (full or part-time);
- dual VET (apprenticeship contracts or learning agreements) ( );
- face to face;
- distance learning.
The share of WBL varies from 50% to 65% depending on the level. Practical training takes place in school workshops, laboratories, simulations; a compulsory practical placement in a company (of average 400 hours, depending on the level) is included in all VET programmes/levels.
When the programme is delivered in dual VET () ( ), it may take the form of an apprenticeship contract (contrato para la formación y el aprendizaje) or a learning agreement. The programme duration may be extended from an original two years to three; in-company practical training covers 33% - 85% of the learning hours fixed in the qualification.
In case of dual VET without a contract, a learning agreement is to be signed between the company, the school and the learner. Participants have the status of student (no age limit applies) and may benefit from a scholarship, depending on the region. The agreement must comply with the prescribed working and training conditions set in the qualification, define the duration of the learning programme (two or three years) and the involvement of the company (minimum of 33% of the training hours fixed in the qualification, with a maximum share of 85%).
Learning forms (employment authority VET):
- face-to-face learning;
- distance learning through virtual learning environments (e-learning platforms) or blended learning (since 2015)
- dual VET (apprenticeship contracts) ( ).
In employment authority vocational training programmes, classroom-based learning in a training centre (workshops, laboratories, simulations, etc.) is combined with a compulsory practical placement in a company, of variable length depending on the programme content.
When the programme is delivered through a dual VET/apprenticeship contract (contrato para la formación y el aprendizaje) the classroom-based learning covers at least 25% of working hours in the first year and 15% in the second and third year.
Adult training provision is large and diverse, including literacy processes and basic education, training targeting integration into the labour market, and leisure activities. It comprises different types of provision and programmes offered by the education, employment and local authorities.
The education authorities offer specific programmes of basic education for adults (); basic VET (ISCED 353) and intermediate VET (ISCED 354) programmes are also accessible to adults.
All post-compulsory education programmes are open to adults, including higher VET ISCED 554 programmes. These may or may not include flexible attendance arrangements to combine learning with personal and professional life.
The employment authorities organise a wide range of training actions for the unemployed with the aim of improving their employability and facilitating their integration into the labour market. This provision is integrated in the system of vocational training for employment, which includes other actions aimed primarily at employed workers. Unemployed people may also participate in some of these actions.
The dual principle, introduced by the Royal decree of 1529/2012 (), has been implemented nationally to increase VET attractiveness and support young people in transition to the labour market with territorial differences in its implementation. It refers to all types of VET which combine work and learning with the aim of obtaining vocational qualifications, which may take the form of an apprenticeship contract (contrato para la formación y el aprendizaje) in education or employment authority VET programmes), or without a contractual labour relationship (only in education VET programmes).
Since 2016, apprenticeships must be linked () to a VET programme leading to an official qualification, issued by the education authorities (VET diplomas) or the employment authorities (professional certificates, Certificados de Profesionalidad, CdPs). Training not leading to qualifications/certificates has since been discontinued, unless it is complementary to the qualification programme undertaken by the apprentice.
Dual VET () is delivered through apprenticeship contracts or other alternance schemes. Different dual vocational training development models coexist, depending on the greater or lesser participation of the company in the training activities, from training exclusively in the training centre to exclusively in the company.
The apprenticeship contract
This type of contract (contrato para la formación y el aprendizaje) can be signed by 16 to 25 year-olds (or up to 30 until youth unemployment decreases) with low-level qualifications (), for one to three years. There is no age limit for people with disabilities or who experience social exclusion.
The salary is set by collective agreement in proportion to the actual working time and cannot be lower than the minimum wage. The effective working time (work-based learning), compatible with that dedicated to training activities, cannot be more than 75% of the maximum working time during the first year, or 85% during the second and third years. The remaining share to complete the VET programme (respectively 25% and 15%) is dedicated to theoretical learning in classroom-setting.
The use or not of apprenticeship contracts depends, apart from the learners’ age, on factors such as the regional regulation, which affects how dual projects (see below) are to be set in their territorial scope, or the company willingness.
Unemployed people with no formal qualifications hired through a training and apprenticeship contract benefit from a 100% reduction in social security contributions, total social protection and unemployment benefit
Companies turning apprenticeship contracts into permanent ones (at least three years) benefit from incentives (EUR 1 500 or EUR 1 800 for women). In the case of workers enrolled in the National youth guarantee system, this incentive, in the same percentages, will consist of a bonus.
Dual projects in formal VET (learning agreements)
Learners participating in dual VET projects within the education system () may hold an apprenticeship contract, but most frequently they sign learning agreements ( ).
In the case of dual projects, participating VET providers must be authorised to offer dual VET, must have signed an agreement with companies within each specific industry, and their dual VET projects are to be carried out in a productive environment which complies with all suitable requirements for its implementation.
Some of the main features of learning agreements are that:
- the company will participate in a minimum of 33% of the training hours fixed in the qualification. The maximum share is 85%;
- the duration of the learning programme can be extended from the usual two years to three;
- learners may undertake the practical in-company placement only after having completed the first part of the programme in a training centre. Each region has different regulations on when the placement can start;
- student assessment is the responsibility of teachers at the school or VET institution, considering the opinion of in-company tutors and trainers and work performance.
The improvement and increase in dual projects in intermediate and higher VET programmes has meant growth in the number of students, training centres and companies involved in dual VET since 2012/13. However, dual projects are still a minority compared to classroom VET programmes. In the 2016/17 school year, those enrolled in education authority dual VET only represented 3% of total VET students.
The alliance for dual training (Alianza para la FP Dual) () is a private initiative and an active State-wide network of institutions, research centres and companies, in place since 2015; it has been supporting implementation of dual VET in some regions, especially in education authority VET programmes.
Learn more about apprenticeships in the national context from the European database on apprenticeship schemes by Cedefop: http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/en/publications-and-resources/data-visualisations/apprenticeship-schemes/scheme-fiches
The VET system is governed by Act 5/2002 on qualifications and vocational education and training (LOCFP) (). This covers the training programmes included in initial and continuing VET, to enable skilling, upskilling and reskilling.
Education in Spain, including VET, is regulated by the 2006 Education Act (LOE) () and the 2013 Act for the improvement of education quality (LOMCE) ( ). Some measures for full implementation of the LOMCE law are pending.
Act 30/2015 () regulates vocational training for employment; implementation of the new framework created is still under development.
The Ministry of Education and Vocational Training is responsible for national IVET policies, quality of IVET programmes and curricula.
The Ministry of Labour, Migrations and Social Security sets the policies for vocational training under its remit. The aim is to (up)skill and retrain the unemployed and employees, and to support employability matching skills with the needs of the local economy.
Implementation of VET policies is managed by the regions, which may shape (up to 35-45% of) IVET curricula based on local/territorial needs.
Implementation – advisory bodies
Main bodies involved in education:
- at national level, the General Council for Vocational Training ( ) is the Government advisory body on VET policy; it comprises representatives of education and employment authorities (at national and regional levels) as well as social partners (enterprises and trade unions);
- the National Education Council ( ) is the education ministry advisory body publishing annual reports with recommendations for policy setting;
- the sectoral education conference, made up of the minister of education and the relevant councillors of each region, may be held several times per year to coordinate education at national and regional levels.
Main bodies involved in vocational training for employment:
- the General council for the national employment system (Consejo General del Sistema Nacional de Empleo) is the main consultative and participatory body for public authorities and social partners. In particular for VET issues, it carries out its functions through the training for employment State commission (Comisión estatal de formación para el empleo);
- the sectoral conference on labour affairs (Conferencia Sectorial de Empleo y Asuntos Laborales) is the general instrument for coordination and cooperation between the central Government and the regions in employment policy. One of its functions is to distribute available funds between the regions;
- the State foundation for training in employment (Fundación Estatal para la Formación en el Empleo – Fundae) ( ) is a public body comprising the State general administration, the regions and the most representative business and trade union organisations. It provides technical support to the State public employment service (SEPE), and to the labour ministry in the strategic development of the system of vocational training for employment in the work sphere.
- joint sectoral structures ( ) made up of the representative business and union organisations in each relevant sector ( ). Their main task is to anticipate training needs and propose sectoral training based on their knowledge of the real productive environment; however, until Act 30/2015 is fully developed and provisions specifying their duties and ways of operating are defined, the joint sectoral commissions are still functioning.
Active labour market policies are agreed in the framework of the sectoral conference on labour affairs. The framework, coordination and implementation of these policies are based on three instruments: the Spanish strategy for employment activation, the annual plans for employment policy () and the information system for public employment services. Regional public employment services ( ) design and manage their own policies based on this common framework, with a commitment to transparency, evaluation and results orientation.
Different types of institutions provide vocational training ():
- publicly-funded vocational training integrated institutions, which have autonomy regarding their organisation and management;
- publicly-funded institutions offering vocational training;
- national reference institutions, specialised in the different productive sectors, which are responsible for innovation and experimentation in vocational training. They may be owned and managed by different authorities;
- public institutions of the national employment system ( );
- private authorised institutions of the national employment system offering vocational training for employment;
- business organisations and trade unions, as well as other bodies benefiting from various funding schemes;
- companies developing training actions.
Non-formal training CVET providers
Companies carrying out training activities (not leading to a State-recognised qualification) for their staff can hire external training providers or provide the training themselves. Funding for such activities comes mainly from business and worker contributions, collected and distributed countrywide. 70% of all companies that organised training for their employees in 2017 are micro SMEs with less than 10 employees ().
There are subsidised training schemes (mainly through open calls for proposals) for different types of training activity for the (un)employed at no cost to learners (sectoral, cross-sectoral programmes for the (un)employed, public employment services training schemes for the unemployed).
Formal VET is mostly State-financed.
In education authority VET, most VET providers are public or publicly-funded; only one in four learners attends a private VET centre. Training centres which are 100% private do not receive public funds. Training always leads to a formal VET qualification (VET diplomas).
Qualifications in training for employment are delivered by private or public centres (integrated centres, national reference centres) accredited for each qualification. In some cases, providers can apply for public funds to cover expenses, with a cost limit per hour/per participant for each course leading to a formal VET qualification (professional certificates, CdPs).
Distribution (%) of public expenditure on education by activity 2017 (**)
NB: Provisional data. (*): Specialised ed., adult ed. and other types. (**): For the calculation of this distribution, adjustment and undistributed by activity items have been excluded.
Source: MEyFP (2019). Nota: Estadística del Gasto Público en Educación. Resultados provisionales Año 2017 [Note: Statistics of public expenditure on education: 2017 interim results] http://www.educacionyfp.gob.es/dms/mecd/servicios-al-ciudadano-mecd/estadisticas/educacion/recursos-economicos/gasto-publico/2017/2017NotaRes.pdf
Employment authority VET is funded mainly by contributions by companies and workers to social security ().
Funding for State-wide training schemes for the employed is managed by the State foundation for training in employment () together with the State public employment service ( ). At regional level, training schemes are managed by the regional labour authorities. The national institute of public administration (INAP) manages training for civil servants.
Following the 2015 reform (), only authorised training providers are allowed to receive funds for training leading to State-recognised vocational qualifications. Therefore, employers’ organisations, trade unions and other organisations may deliver training under the condition that they are accredited or registered as ‘other training providers’.
Governance and target groups – Employment VET
Source: SEPE (2018). Informe Anual 2017 [Annual report 2017]. https://www.sepe.es/SiteSepe/contenidos/que_es_el_sepe/publicaciones/pdf/pdf_sobre_el_sepe/informe_anual_2017.pdf
Funds allocated for vocational training for employment come mainly from the State budget, through the training levy that all private companies must pay as part of the social security contribution. This is calculated by multiplying by 0.70% company contributions for common contingencies and worker contributions to social security; 0.60% is provided by the company and the remaining 0.10%, by the worker. Other contributions come from SEPE and the regions. Training actions may be jointly financed through the European Social Fund or other European funding.
These funds are allocated to different funding schemes, providing training free of charge for the unemployed and employees:
- training organised by companies for their employees (formación programada por la empresa);
- subsidised training schemes through open calls for proposals, such as sectoral and cross-sectoral training programmes for the (self-)employed, including those working in the social economy (cooperatives) (planes de formación intersectoriales, sectoriales, autónomos, y economía social);
- subsidised training schemes for the unemployed, including ‘training plans’ (planes de formación) aimed at meeting needs identified by the public employment services and specific training programmes. These are funded through open calls for proposals;
- other training initiatives, such as individual training leave (permisos individuales de formación, PIF), alternance training (formación en alternancia), civil servant training, training in prisons, among others. The way in which these initiatives are funded varies.
Allocation of funds according to training initiatives for employees in 2018
NB: (*) Ceuta and Melilla’s budget have been included in in the regional calls for proposals although managed by the State Foundation for Training in Employment (Fundae).
Source: Fundae (2019). Key findings 2018. Updated March 2019.
The 2006 Education Act and the 2013 Act for the improvement of educational quality () regulate State-wide requirements for teaching staff, initial and continuing professional development (CPD), and the conditions for recognition, support and value of VET teachers. The same requirements apply for all secondary non-university education.
The main categories of VET teachers and trainers are:
In education authority VET programmes
- secondary school teachers;
- technical vocational teachers;
- when necessary, experts in different professional sectors and in-company trainers (trainers/tutors involved in practical training modules at workplaces) can participate in training delivery.
In employment authority vocational programmes:
- trainers/instructors, teaching theoretical technical content;
- technical teachers, providing vocational technical and practical content in situations closer to the reality of work;
- in-company trainers/tutors.
Formal requirements for VET teachers in formal education:
VET teachers must:
- hold a university degree (ISCED 6);
- hold a master degree (university master degree in teacher training);
- undergo an internship at an education centre;
- in public education, teachers have the status of civil servants, and need to pass a complex selection process to acquire such condition.
In-company trainers are experienced professionals who guide, monitor and assess apprentices; there are no formal teaching requirements for in-company trainers.
Formal requirements in the employment sphere
Requirements for trainers/instructors depend on the type of training to be provided. In the case of training linked to the national catalogue of occupational standards (CNCP), each professional certificate regulation sets the academic and teaching qualifications and experience that trainers must meet for each training module.
Trainers must generally hold a higher qualification than the one they are delivering, at least one year of experience, and some qualification on teaching methodology for adults.
In the case of training specialities not linked to the CNCP, requirements for trainers are set in terms of qualifications, professional experience and teaching competence.
Continuing professional development (CPD) is a right and a professional duty.
Education acts (LOE and LOMCE) () set a series of guidelines for CPD. The education authorities are responsible for planning, organising and recognising continuing professional development within their scope, providing teachers with a wide range of activities. The education ministry, through the National Institute for Education Technologies and Teacher Training (INTEF), offers permanent State-wide training programmes via agreements with other institutions. Autonomous regions, at regional level, also offer continuing professional training for teachers.
Teachers’ continuing professional development is associated with career and wage progression. A grading system takes into account training and work experience for regional and national mobility; and financial benefits (supplement for lifelong learning every six years worked cumulatively). Regional education authorities may run annual training plans (training plans are not compulsory in all regions) to organise continuing professional development activities in their territory.
The National Institute of Education Technologies and Teacher Training () is developing interactive and multimedia digital education resources (including professional training) in collaboration with the regions, to support social networking, integration of ICT in non-university education, and teachers’ digital skills. The digital competence passport allows teachers to measure and monitor ICT skills development.
In both the education and the employment strands, the national reference centres () play a key role in teacher and trainer continuing professional development activities. They offer face-to-face training courses that aim to improve methodological and technical skills and support innovation in priority areas. The main beneficiaries are VET teachers, in-company trainers and other experts/professionals from the sectors involved in employment authority training programmes.
To improve the quality of the training offer, the national reference centres (CRNs) develop guidelines and reference guides for teaching and training staff on how best to teach and assess learning outcomes taught in professional certificate programmes.
More information is available in the Cedefop ReferNet thematic perspective on teachers and trainers ().
The 2015 reform of vocational training for employment (), put the employment ministry, through the observatory of the public State employment service (SEPE), in charge of research and detection of training needs. The observatory works in coordination and cooperation with the autonomous communities, (via the sectoral conference on employment and labour issues), and the social partners (via the general council for the national employment system).
Skills anticipation in Spain takes place at different levels and in different bodies, involving substantial stakeholder/social partner engagement. Labour market and skills analysis is primarily based on data from
- labour force survey (LFS) statistics;
- administrative data on employment;
- registered unemployment data collected by employment authorities;
- ad hoc surveys carried out by public or other institutions; these may take a sectoral or more general approach;
- the alert network of the professional observatory of the National Qualifications Institute.
These sources are used to monitor the labour market and quantify past trends to provide insight on how employment is changing.
Education and employment authorities, at national and regional levels, have their own services for monitoring labour market trends and qualifications evolution. Regular graduate tracking measures are established at regional level, without a structural approach at national level.
A collaboration agreement on reciprocal data exchange on VET graduates was signed in 2017 between the ministries of education and social security to allow tracking and analysis of their employability. A new survey on learner transition from education and training to the labour market () is being prepared. It focuses on the referral course 2013-14 targeting dropouts from lower secondary (ESO); lower and upper secondary (ESO and baccalaureate, respectively), intermediate VET and higher VET graduates ( ).
Other State-wide institutions monitor skill needs and trends:
- the National Institute of Qualifications ( ) has its own observatory ( ). It monitors needs for new occupational standards in all 26 professional branches and updates the national catalogue, in cooperation with sectoral and territorial observatories;
- the State public employment service ( ) has an Observatory of Occupations ( ). It publishes reports on existing and future training needs, job offers’ profiles and labour market evolution and trends. It also publishes sectoral studies, using quantitative and qualitative techniques and constantly updated social and occupational indicators;
- the national reference centres (CRNs) as centres of innovation and experimentation in productive sectors, address changes in the demand for qualification. They liaise with business and union organisations and universities, and establish benchmarks for common use within the network.
The 2015 reform of vocational training for employment () foresees the development of multi-annual skills anticipation every three years for planning the vocational training system initiatives, in line with the Spanish strategy for employment activation. It will involve the most representative business and trade union organisations, the regions, sectoral joint structures and other organisations (for self-employed workers and entities of the social economy). Other ministerial departments, observatories and experts may also collaborate ( ).
See also Cedefop’s skills forecast () and European skills index ( )
See also national forecast and identification of training needs reports produced by the State public employment service (SEPE) ().
Stakeholders are involved in designing and updating VET qualifications in line with labour market needs. They develop occupational standards in all sectors of the economy; these make up the national register (CNCP) () and are used as reference for designing and updating VET programmes and qualifications ( ).
The backbone of VET is the national catalogue of occupational standards (CNCP) (), which comprises the most important occupations organised in 26 sector branches. It currently has 668 occupational standards on three levels, according to the degree of complexity, autonomy and responsibility necessary to carry out a work activity ( ).
Occupational standards (), consist of a set of competence units (UCs) reflecting the expected performance of a job holder in the respective occupation. A competence unit is defined as ‘the minimum set of professional skills that can be partially recognised and certified’. Each competence unit is associated to a learning module, which describes the necessary learning (knowledge, skills and competences) required to achieve that unit. The learning specifications are expressed as capacities (learning outcomes) and their related assessment criteria, as well as the contents leading to the achievement of those capacities. The capacities to be completed in a real working environment are also identified.
Structure of occupational standards
Occupational standards are used by the education and employment authorities to design VET qualifications: VET diplomas and professional certificates (CdP).
- VET diplomas are composed of a set of these occupational standards ( );
- a single occupational standard is used for each professional certificate ( ).
As stated in Act 5/2002, the Government establishes the equivalences and recognition between VET diplomas (issued by education authorities) and professional certificates (issued by employment authorities) through competence units.
The national institute of qualifications () is responsible for defining, drawing up and updating the national catalogue of occupational standards (CNCP) and the corresponding competence units and learning modules, in active cooperation with VET stakeholders ( ). Regions have an active role in the development of some professional branches according to their productive context; this is the case for Galicia in the maritime and fishing industry (MAP) or for País Vasco in metalworking (FME).
Experts from the 26 professional branches, covering both the productive and training sectors, work together to define the occupational units of competence and the standards of the reference profiles in the production system. A competence unit is then described in terms of the professional tasks that skilled workers do.
Updating and reviewing all vocational qualifications is continuous and starts with standards older than 5 years or when the changes in the production sectors make it advisable to update before five years. This process involves all parties, including experts from companies and VET institutions, as well as an external validation of the revised occupational standards, based on current labour market needs analysis in terms of skills supply and demand in all sectors and professional branches. INCUAL collects information through various channels using qualitative and quantitative approaches and VET qualifications are updated accordingly. New occupational standards are created based on identified emerging professional profiles.
National reference centres (CRN) are in charge of planning and carrying out activities for innovation, experimentation and training, which serve as a point of reference for the whole national system of qualifications and vocational training for the development of VET.
Recently, INCUAL has improved its observatory and created an early warning system network, with different stakeholders, to identify prospective trends and changes in professional profile requirements and to draw up and, if necessary, modify the occupational standards.
VET diplomas (education authority VET)
These are based on the occupational standards included in the CNCP. They are offered at basic, intermediate and higher levels, have an academic and professional value and signify both an education level and the professional qualification obtained. They are accessible to learners enrolled to basic, intermediate and higher VET programmes.
A working group of educational and technological experts, drawn from the related productive sector and different regions, work together to design and draw up each diploma programme. Educational experts are usually teachers or trainers in the same professional field. Several consultation rounds take place before a VET qualification is approved by the Government and all interested groups and institutions can express their considerations (). All main advisory bodies are involved in the process:
- the sectoral education conference;
- the general council for vocational training (CGFP),
- the national education council;
- when other authorities have responsibilities in the occupation or professional fields to which the curriculum of the diploma programmes refers, their favourable report is a prerequisite for approval and publication in the official gazette (BOE).
VET diploma programmes, defined according to learning outcomes, are approved by royal decrees for 55-65% of national curricula, ensuring the validity and the consistency of the qualifications nationally. Between 45 and 35% of the curricula contents are settled at regional level, according to the socioeconomic characteristics of the immediate environment. These royal decrees also establish the facilities, equipment requirements for VET providers, assessment criteria and teacher requirements for each VET diploma programme.
VET diploma programmes consist of different modules: some are linked to occupational standards (the occupations covered by the diploma) while others ease access to employment such as business and entrepreneurship (Empresa e iniciativa emprendedora) or professional training and guidance modules (Formación y orientacion laboral, FOL). Personal and social skills are also covered transversely in all modules making up the curriculum of VET in the education system.
Starting in 2015, VET diploma programmes are being updated and adapted to the requirements of the productive sectors (), including and reinforcing the eight key competences in a cross curricular way. Currently, there are 170 different Diplomas ( ):
- 34 in basic VET (Título profesional básico) (ISCED 353)
- 62 in intermediate VET (Título de Técnico) (ISCED 354)
- 92 in higher VET (Título de Técnico Superior) (ISCED 554)
Professional Certificates (employment authority VET) ()
Professional Certificates (CdPs) are State-recognised vocational qualifications issued by the employment authorities. They are based on occupational standards and are developed and updated by the State public employment service (SEPE), with the cooperation of the national reference centres. SEPE also produces teaching and assessment guides ().
A common curriculum is set for each, regardless of the region and irrespective of the type of training programme (full-time, e-learning), based on the standards set in the national catalogue of occupational standards (CNCP). Whenever an occupational standard or competence unit changes or is updated, the relevant CdP is also reviewed and changed accordingly.
Professional certificate programmes are organised in three levels, level 1 being the most basic and level 3 the most complex. They have a modular structure with learning outcomes, assessment criteria and contents and guidelines for providers which are fully employment-oriented. Each professional certificate also includes a compulsory on-the-job training module (módulo de formación práctica en centros de trabajo) whose learning outcomes must be assessed in the workplace. The total duration of the professional certificate programmes () varies, according to the structure of competences and learning outcomes to be acquired without reference to a specific academic year. The duration of the on-the-job training module depends on the profile and occupations included in the curriculum of each diploma, ranging from 5% to 52% of the total workload of the training programme.
Features of the 583 CdP learning programmes listed in the national catalogue of occupational standards (CNCP)
Source: ReferNet, based on results from SEPE’s search tool of training specialities [accessed 24.10.2018].
To adapt training programmes to the target audience, employed or unemployed workers, the workload of the training modules (Módulos formativos) associated with competence units (UCs) lasting 90 hours or more is split into shorter training units (unidad formativa, UF), with a minimum of 30 hours, based on an analysis of the competences with which they are associated.
Before their publication in the official gazette, all professional certificates undergo consultation with education and employment bodies: the general council for vocational training (CGFP), the training for employment State commission and the sectoral conference on labour affairs.
Professional certificates have a double effect: they set out training programmes and award a vocational qualification. As the competence unit is the minimum unit to be certified, it is possible to gain partial credits for a professional certificate.
Professional certificate programmes can be delivered face-to-face or as blended learning. In the latter, the State public employment service uses experts’ opinions to set the duration of instruction to be provided in person according to the nature of the content or the need to use certain equipment or machinery. Learning which cannot take place via simulation must be completed in traditional learning settings, as must all final assessments.
Holding a professional certificate indicates the ability to work in a particular field, in line with the classification of occupations, and guarantees the necessary vocational training, although it does not regulate professional activities (this is done by the relevant body in that profession).
Education and labour authorities establish, by mutual agreement and previous consent of the General Council for Vocational Education and Training, the basic quality indicators and requirements for education and training based on the national catalogue of occupational standards (CNCP).
The education system subscribes to a process of quality assurance () covering all aspects of education activities. Two differentiated means are used in support:
- inspection of the education system (including VET) organised between the State and regional education authorities;
- evaluation of the education system, including assessment of school performance and teaching staff performance.
Quality assurance in education authority VET is threefold:
- regional level, by the autonomous communities;
- local level, by education institutions.
Since 2000, the evaluation institute of the education (INEE) (), in collaboration with the regions, uses statistical indicators to run annual assessments; the results drawn are used for policy decision making. The process is in line with the European quality assurance reference framework (EQAVET).
At the end of each year schools evaluate results obtained to see if they are satisfactory and if the training offered is aligned with local socio-economic needs.
An integrated information system is in place in vocational training for employment. It collects complete and up-to-date information on the training activities funded by public calls throughout the State and is used for assessing the effectiveness of vocational training for employment.
The 2015 reform (Act 30/2015) provides quality assurance mechanisms, coordinated by the State public employment service (SEPE). These are:
- evaluation of training actions and schemes, run by the State public employment service (SEPE) together with regional bodies and social partners through:
- ex-ante evaluation aiming to identify training needs and objectives;
- ex-post evaluation, through use of indicators to monitor efficiency, results and areas for improvement;
Funds are allocated to sectoral joint committees to develop annual plans and recommendations;
- evaluation of public calls to fund training actions:
- periodic ex-post evaluation of training initiatives by independent external bodies;
- evaluation of subsidised training impact for beneficiaries (usually, the unemployed and employees);
- quality evaluation of training activities for employment, which includes a satisfaction survey of beneficiaries ( ). Training providers support assessment processes for the training they provide.
A 2018 study () analyses the elements that impact on the quality of trainers and tutors in training actions not linked to State-recognised qualifications (professional certificates, CdPs) financed by the 2013-14 public call.
Accredited VET centres delivering CdP programmes have to submit a training project including the didactic planning and assessment of each training module making up the certificate. Training providers are monitored by the public employment services to verify conformity with the requirement of the order establishing a professional certificate programme; whether face-to-face, e-learning or part of dual training. This may include visits to training providers to gather physical evidence and testimonies about their implementation.
The process for validation of prior learning (VPL) is regulated by the Royal decree 1224/2009 (). The aim is to support skills creation to (re)enter the labour market, especially for early leavers and adults with no or low qualifications. The framework covers the whole spectrum of professional skills included in the national catalogue of occupational standards (CNCP).
There are also opportunities for adults to sit entrance examinations to gain access to studies which lead to an official qualification, such as those for intermediate and higher vocational training programmes.
The National Institute of Qualifications () ensures the maintenance and update of the national catalogue of occupational standards (CNCP), which are used by the education or employment authorities to establish vocational qualifications (VET diplomas and professional certificates-CdPs). The National Institute of Qualifications uses a set of quality criteria to guarantee the reliability, objectivity and technical rigor of the validation process. Validation of prior learning allows workers to have their skills recognised either to find a job, move between workplaces or advance in their careers.
Regional authorities (autonomous communities) implement the validation process through public calls published (jointly or not) by education and labour authorities at regional level. Regions also provide information on the number of places (beneficiaries) available and are responsible for guidance services and quality assurance of the validation process (). These procedures empower citizens to engage in further learning and acquire full qualifications. Demand for recognition may be driven by company needs, social partner requests or minimum qualification requirements from sectoral regulatory bodies, depending on local or sectoral labour market needs.
The calls lay down which competence units () are to be validated, vocational qualifications and sector branches involved; they may also limit the maximum number of people to be assessed in each competence unit. Competence units to be validated are individually assessed and certified and may be accumulated towards a full qualification in IVET and CVET.
Share of validation beneficiaries in 2017
Source: Data provided by INCUAL, 2018.
To acknowledge work experience, applicants must be able to prove at least three years of experience relevant to the skills being assessed, with a minimum of 2 000 working hours in the ten years previous to the call. In the case of non-formal training (), applicants must prove they have received at least three hundred hours of training not leading to official recognition in the ten years before the call.
The process is divided into the following three phases:
- mandatory advisory phase (either in person or online) to help candidates assess their own skills, fill out their personal and training record and present the evidence backing up their application. The guidance counsellor uses this documentation to report whether the applicant may enter the next phase. If the report is negative, the counsellor advises the candidate to undertake supplementary training and proposes available training courses;
- assessment: this aims to prove whether the applicants can demonstrate their skills in real or simulated work situations;
- certification: candidates receive certification for each of the competence units they have successfully passed. The set of certified UCs may correspond to a complete or partial CdP certificate, or a partial lVET Diploma.
Between 2010 and 2017, these public calls offered a total of 277 079 assessment places across 24 sector branches ().
A national procedure for the validation of skills acquired in volunteering activities () with young people is also currently being developed. It will be a free and telematic (online) service.
There are other possibilities for recognition of prior learning by means of different exams targeting adults that wish to obtain the basic education (ESO) or general upper secondary (Bachillerato) certificates or IVET qualifications (at all three levels, basic, intermediate and higher VET diplomas) without having to complete the corresponding studies. These exams are periodically organised by the education authorities.
For more information about arrangements for the validation of non-formal and informal learning please visit Cedefop’s European database ().
Scholarships and grants for IVET learners
There are three types of financial incentive to begin or pursue a programme of studies which are valid throughout the country:
- financial support based on the applicant’s socio-economic circumstances;
- grants based on the applicant’s socio-economic circumstances and academic achievement;
- awards aimed at students with high academic achievement.
Eligibility requirements, as well as household income and capital thresholds, are updated annually.
IVET learners can apply for scholarships and grants, distributed through annual calls published by the education ministry and the regions. During the economic downturn, amendments were made to the scholarship regime and study grants for students in non-university post compulsory education, imposing the shared responsibility of recipients to obtain satisfactory results. The distribution of public expenditure among the various educational activities, scholarships and study grants reached 4.2% in 2016. In 2018, the budget allocated to scholarships and grants is the highest in recent years. The trend is to increase the number of grant holders but reduce the average amount received per beneficiary.
VET mobility projects aim to increase the employability of young graduates in VET, as well as language proficiency, soft skills and professional competences. Under the Erasmus + 2015 programme, extended until 2017, there were 310 VET mobility projects, mainly apprentice mobility (EUR 20 million investment) and staff mobility (EUR one million). 86% of participants were learners, 14% were teachers and other staff.
Information and guidance tools
The education authority promotes VET through its dedicated web portal (), visited by four million users per year. The portal was updated in 2017. It includes VET programmes, Europass supplements ( ), labour market information, and information on VET competitions such as SpainSkills, EuropeSkills and WorldSkills. It also has a dedicated section (Acredita) on validation of informal and non-formal learning ( ).
Regional education authorities also have web sections directly linked to/from the portal and implement measures to boost VET enrolment in their territories.
News tools in place include an app for mobile phones to find documents in the portal’s library; an online guidance tool, Choose your own pathway () and an on-site customer service point with a variety of communication channels (email, instant messaging, social media networks like Twitter and Facebook, and telephone enquiries).
Incentives for the employed
The 2012 labour reform and the 2015 employment authority VET reform (Act 30/2015) laid down different incentives for workers such as the training account, linked to workers' social security number, and the ‘training voucher’ for workers to choose their training and provider; neither of these incentives has yet been implemented.
Workers have the right to 20 hours of annual training related to the company's activity; these hours can be accumulated over a period of five years. Nevertheless, this right, in place since 2012, has not yet been fully developed through other legal provisions.
Individual training leave for the employed (PIF) ()
Employees can take part in training programmes run by their companies or participate in other training schemes. They can apply for individual training leave (PIF) from their companies, to improve their skills at no cost to the company. Employees have the right to 200 working hours for educational purposes, with the company agreement. The company is reimbursed for the salary of that worker by the State Foundation for Training in Employment (Fundae) and the worker receives his/her salary during the training leave. Individual training leave is intended to provide workers wishing to improve their personal and professional skills with the opportunity to attend officially recognised or formal training courses. Workers can also take this type of leave to undergo the procedure for recognition of prior learning acquired through work experience or non-formal education.
In 2017, only a minority of individual training leave (4.5%) was used to carry out training to obtain a professional certificate (CdP). Individual training leave was mostly used to attend formal education (76.8%) or other training courses (18.7%) leading to other qualifications (). More than 40% of individual training leave beneficiaries are between 36 and 45 years old; women beneficiaries account for 42.0% (a two percentage point increase since 2016).
Allocation of funds according to training initiatives for employees – 2018
(*) Ceuta and Melilla’s budget have been included in in the regional calls for proposals although managed by the State Foundation for Training in Employment (Fundae).
Source: Fundae (2019). 2018 Key findings. https://www.fundae.es/Observatorio/Pages/Balance-de-resultados.aspx
Incentives for the unemployed
Unemployed workers may also take part in some of the different training schemes within the training for employment system. Participants can request, if necessary, reimbursement for travel, accommodation and meal expenses during the training period. In some cases, they can also apply for financial aid for other issues, particularly if they have family responsibilities.
Incentives for dual VET learners and apprentices
The introduction of a dual system in education authority VET offers young people at risk an insight into the labour market. Based on first preliminary data - available from training centres or regional authorities – the employment rate of dual VET learners is usually higher than in traditional school based VET.
Training and apprenticeship contracts are offered in IVET and CVET. They target mostly unemployed people who lack formal qualifications and have seen positive results since the 2012 labour reform. Hired apprentices benefit from a 100% reduction in social security contributions, total social protection, unemployment benefit and training (training for at least 25% of working hours in the first year and 15% in the second and third year). The training may lead to a full qualification (professional certificate) or partial certification of a set of competence units towards a professional certificate or a VET diploma.
Supporting VET provider capacity
Education authority VET programmes are offered by both State-funded centres and private centres. One in four learners attends a private centre. To ensure equity and equality of opportunities, private education centres may receive funds to offer teaching free of charge (these are called publicly-funded private centres). Increased funding () supports creation of more free VET places in these centres.
Increased funding was also allocated to the regions for implementing VET policies in their territories ().
Since the 2013 education reform (LOMCE Act) education centres have greater autonomy in using the funds allocated from the State budget to improve their training offer. They may run actions to test how to tailor their training offer to local needs/skills (pilot projects, new work plans or forms of organisation, and increase hours devoted to certain subjects) ().
Vocational training providers under the employment authority can apply, on a competitive basis, for funding (with financial incentives or subsidies depending on the type of initiative) to carry out training actions in the regional or State calls for proposal published annually. Since Act 30/2015, only recognised training providers () can apply for such financial aid. Training is funded based on cost per participant/hour, which differs by delivery mode (e-learning or face—to-face).
National reference centres, running innovative and experimental training activities, schedule training courses which, due to the lack of equipment and facility requirements, are not offered by the usual network of vocational training centres.
Within the training for employment system, companies receive discounts on their social security contributions for providing training to their employees. The yearly training credit (the amount for which they can receive a discount) available to each company is calculated by applying a fixed percentage to the training quota amount in the previous year. Companies with fewer than six employees receive a minimum credit (420€). This percentage is ranging from 100% for businesses with six to nine employees to 50% for big companies (250 or more). Businesses with more than 10 employees are obliged to finance part of the training cost, which again varies depending on the size of the company: 10% for companies with 10-49 employees, up to 40% for large companies.
Training and apprenticeship contract regulations set different incentives for companies to hire trainees, in the form of reduced employer social security contributions, or additional bonuses to fund the costs of in-company tutors, as well as other incentives when apprentices become permanent staff.
Education and vocational guidance are highlighted for improvement in the national VET system. In recent years, different reforms () - complementing dispositions from Act 5/2002 on qualifications and vocational training - aimed to improve counselling and career guidance services, mainly through:
- the development of an integrated information and guidance system;
- the setting of a State-wide network to ensure access to information and career guidance for all citizens, including specialised services for businesses and the self-employed;
- development of an integrated computing platform on professional guidance linked, where appropriate, to the relevant European networks;
- coordination and monitoring of guidance services in line with national policies on education, employment and social inclusion.
Since then, various developments have taken place.
The education reform (Act 8/2013, LOMCE), generally maintains education and vocational guidance on the same terms as in the 2006 education Act (LOE). However, it includes new aspects related to compulsory secondary education:
- an ’orientation and guidance’ report is delivered to the student’s parents at the end of general or vocational lower secondary programmes,
- a report on the degree of achievement of learning outcomes and acquisition of relevant skills, as well as a proposal for a career path;
- special focus on guidance in the new basic VET programmes.
Education legislation assigns the immediate responsibility for guidance to teachers, as part of students’ general education and training. State education centres offer professional guidance services for students and parents.
To support and widen guidance and counselling services in schools, regional education authorities are launching strategies and varied resources tailored to the specific needs arising from their own labour market ().
The education ministry has been developing and broadening a series of actions, such as a new State-wide organisation of information and career guidance services; creation and maintenance of digital platforms for information and vocational guidance, and other projects linked to the dissemination of vocational training and guidance ().
The Service for Internationalisation of Education (SEPIE), as the Spanish Erasmus+ national agency for education and training, also supports information services to promote learning opportunities abroad.
In the employment sphere the common employment services portfolio () offers career guidance services to advise unemployed and employed workers on training and employment opportunities, as well as on the recognition and validation of their skills ( ). A further step in its implementation has been the publication of protocols and quality criteria for the provision of guidance services which all public employment services in Spain must comply with ( ). These protocols aim to define and set up individual professional paths to improve workers’ employability. They also aim to develop entrepreneurship and to support business and self-employment initiatives, by identifying workers’ skills, training and experience, interests, family situation and possible professional opportunities, as well as other relevant variables. This information will be used to prepare the workers’ profiles and their classification based on their employability.
All IVET programmes contain at least one or several vocational modules related to guidance, labour relations and the development of entrepreneurial culture, although these issues are also treated in a cross-curricular manner.
All VET students and trainees have to undertake an on-the-job training module that is carried out in a real productive setting. This module enables them to gain work experience and put their skills into practice, as well as learn about the organisation of productive processes or services and labour relations, guided by education and workplace tutors.
- guidance and outreach Spain national report ( );
- Cedefop’s labour market intelligence toolkit ( ).