Reference year 2019

1Target group

Q6. Does the legal basis define the minimum and maximum age limits for enrolment of the target group of this scheme?
Minimum and maximum age limits defined
Minimum age limits defined only

The EPAL apprenticeship scheme, fully titled as “Post-secondary year-Apprenticeship class” admits students aged 18+ who must have completed the upper secondary vocational education (EPAL lykeio, under the supervision of Ministry of Education) and have an EPAL school leaving certificate (graduation certificate - “Apolytirio Lykeio” and professional specialization degree – “Ptyxio”). So according to the Greek regulation this apprenticeship class is addressed to adults and has no maximum age limits for enrolment. It is offered as an option of these graduates (among other pathways to higher education, post-secondary VET or the labour market).

Q7. What is the average age of learners in practice?
Between 15 and 18
Between 18 and 24
Above 24

Since school year 2018-2019 data for the “Post-secondary year-Apprenticeship class” statistics data are kept in the Pilot Apprenticeship Information System. The average age of apprentices is 23.

Furthermore, relevant data (microdata) are kept for statistical reasons at the relevant authority due to the funding of apprenticeship programs from European Social Fund.

2Overview of the scheme

Q8. Is the scheme included in the ISCED 2011 mapping?

The apprenticeship scheme is not included in the ISCED 2011 mapping since it was finally regulated and implemented in 2016.

Q9. Is there any organization at the national level with roles in co-ordinating the scheme?

In an effort to battle the economic and social crisis that has tormented Greece in the last decade, the Greek Ministry of Education drew up a detailed Strategic Plan for VET in 2016 with a view to upgrading and expanding the secondary vocational education and training as a response to the need for economic recovery as well as paving the way to reducing youth unemployment.

By Law 4386/2016, the “Post-Secondary Year - Apprenticeship Class” for EPAL graduates was established. In 2017 the Directorate for Vocational Education in the Ministry of Education has taken over the responsibility to supervise and implement the new apprenticeship scheme. In March 2018, a new Department “EPAL Apprenticeship and Work based learning” has been set up in order to co-ordinate the apprenticeship scheme. The Department is responsible for linking Vocational Education students with the labour market, ensuring the quality of education and training by providing regulation for the Post-Secondary Vocational Education Apprenticeship Class. Among others the Department coordinates and monitors the apprenticeship programme, cooperates with stakeholders in order to find positions for apprentices, collects and maintains statistical data regarding the program, designs and implements curricula for the Post-Secondary Vocational Education Apprenticeship Class.
Furthermore, according to Greek laws the Ministry of Education and its competent bodies (IEP, EOPPEP,  ESPA Strategic Structure – Education Sector) have to co-operate with the Ministry of Labour and the Manpower Employment Organization (OAED) as far as apprenticeship issues are concerned.

Given the expansion of VET and apprenticeship provision through various schemes at various levels, in the national strategic framework regarding the expansion of VET system, coordination of VET governance, including apprenticeships, is promoted through the establishment of the National Committee and the Technical Committee for VET. In particular, according to the law 4485/2017 (article 79):

  • the purpose of the National Committee for VET is the coordination and monitoring of the implementation of the actions for upgrading of Vocational Education and training, including apprenticeships, as well as the support to the initiatives by the Ministries of Education and Labour on major issues of their competence related to the implementation of these actions.
  • the Purpose of the Technical Committee for VET is to support the work of the National Committee for VET, to monitor the implementation of the National Strategic Framework for the upgrading of Vocational Education, Training and Apprenticeship and to make proposals/ submissions to the National Committee, concerning matters related to apprenticeship. The Technical Committee of VET, for the implementation of its competences, as appropriate:
    • Considers the Development Priorities of the country on a national, regional and local level
    • Takes into account the suggestions of the Regional Committees of VET, any apprenticeships associations, the social partners and other stakeholders,
    • Considers the outputs of the Labour Market Needs Analysis Mechanism of the Ministry of Labour, Social Security and Social Solidarity

The National and the Technical Committee consist of Ministry and national institutions representatives and covers all VET, including apprenticeships.

For apprenticeships in particular, the National Apprenticeship Coordinating Body was also established aiming to improve the institutional framework for apprenticeship and the design, implementation and evaluation of apprenticeship schemes. It includes social partners, employers' and employees' organizations and local authorities - in addition to the representatives of the Ministry of Education representatives of the Ministry of Labor and OAED.

Q10. When was the scheme introduced?
Long history (before 2000)
Recently introduced (between 2000-2012)
New pathway (after 2012)

The “Apprenticeship class” was first introduced by Law 4186/2013 within the formal education system but was not implemented as such.

By law 4386/2016, the EPAL apprenticeship scheme was established. The EPAL “Post-Secondary Year - Apprenticeship Class” lasts for about 9 months, is optional and is not included in formal education (post-secondary non-formal level). The scheme was launched in the school year 2016-17 as a pilot project and since then it has been constantly expanding in more schools and specialties throughout the country.

The significant expansion of the scheme since its pilot introduction, and the attraction of new learners and employers to apprentices led the EC to include it in the list of good practices of projects funded by the ESF regarding apprenticeship / VET:…

Legislation concerning “Post-secondary year-Apprenticeship class” is posted on the official webpage of the Greek Ministry of Education and Religious Affairs and can be downloaded by all stakeholders.


Q11. How did the apprenticeship scheme originate?
Traditional craftsmanship (master-apprentice relation) to prepare apprentices for the occupation
School-based VET track by including more work-based learning to supply skilled workforce to match labour market needs

The EPAL apprenticeship scheme is a new alternative after the upper secondary school-based VET scheme (EPAL), offered as an option for its graduates.

Considering the Council Declaration on the European Alliance for Apprenticeships of 15 October 2013, the National Commitment of 2013 and the detailed Strategic Plan for VET and Apprenticeship of 2016, Greece has made the necessary amendments to its vocational education policy in order to meet the country’s priorities and objectives both at national and European level. The National Strategic Plan was approved by the European Commission and among its main strategic directions the following are included:

  • To actively promote and enhance the EPAL apprenticeship programme.
  • To strengthen the link among VET, the labour market and society
  • To upgrade VET quality
  • To enhance VET effectiveness
  • To enhance VET attractiveness

The Ministry of Education designed the implementation of a new apprenticeship scheme with the following features:

  • Apprenticeship for adults with a basic vocational education background (vocational certificate at a specific specialization)
  • Apprenticeship programme based on specific curriculum developed by the Institute of Educational Policy
  • New approach based on learning outcomes and professional profiles
  • Cooperation between teachers and company trainers-instructors
  • Apprenticeship contract
  • Apprenticeship subsidy from ESF (≈ 55%)
  • Financial incentive for employers (payment & insurance≈ 45%)
  • Manual including rights and obligations for apprentices and employers
  • Introduction of apprenticeship as an educational methodology
  • Initiative to improve VET attractiveness
  • Alternative path for vocational education graduates to enter the labour market with advanced skills
Q12. What are the sources of financing of the direct costs for the in-company training part of the apprenticeship scheme?
Single employers hosting apprentices
Sectoral funds

Employers pay 25% of the set apprenticeship wage plus social protection and insurance contributions.

The bulk of the resources (€44.228.246) was provided by the ESF co-financed O.P “OP Human Resources Development, Education and Lifelong Learning 2014-2020”, with the rest of the planned resources coming from the Ministry of Education budget.

Furthermore, as the EPAL apprenticeship scheme is offered at the same schools as the school-based upper secondary EPAL vocational programme leverages vocational education resources e.g. Vocational schools’ teachers, laboratories infrastructure, administration procedures.

Q13. Are there any financial incentives for companies that offer apprenticeship places?
Yes, subsidies
Yes, tax deductions
Yes, other incentives
No financial incentives

Enterprises participating in the programme are subsidized for their apprentices. As of 1/2/2019, each apprentice is paid 21.78 € / day (75% of the wage) and the subsidy from the above-mentioned OP is 16.54€ / day while the employer pays the remaining amount and social protection and insurance contributions.

Q14. How many learners are enrolled in this scheme?

Table: enrolments in EPAL apprenticeships

School-year Number of classes Employers Apprentices
2016-17 179 appx 393 1,119
2017-18 406 appx 1,547 3,089
2018-19 409 1,715 3,694
2019-20 373 2,000 3,244

Source: Ministry of Education and Religious Affairs/ Department “Epal Apprenticeship and Work based learning” & “ESPA Strategic Structure – Education Sector”

Since 2017, the share of the private sector offering placements has increased from approximately 25% to 50%.

Since the 2018-19 school-year, graduates of special education vocational schools, have the right to enroll in "post-secondary year - apprenticeship class", after recommendation of the teachers' board and the opinion of the relevant KESY (Educational and Counselling Support Centres).


Q16. Which is the type of qualification obtained through the apprenticeship scheme?
Formal VET qualification (which does not indicate the pathway)
Formal VET qualification (which indicates the pathway)
Formal apprenticeship qualification (journeyman, etc.)

Upon completion of the "Post-Secondary Year- Apprenticeship class”, graduates receive a certificate of attendance, which is a requirement to participate in certification exams, in order to achieve Level 5 of the National and the European Qualifications Framework. The National organization for the Certification of Qualifications and Vocational Guidance (EOPPEP) is responsible for the national certification exams.
EOPPEP is the statutory body for the development and implementation of the Hellenic Qualifications Framework (NQF) in correspondence with the European Qualifications Framework (EQF). Furthermore, EOPPEP is responsible for the certification of the vocational training institutes (IEK) graduates and embeds a national accreditation exam procedure conducted at national and regional level based on the vocational training exam regulation framework per specialty. 
EOPPEP organizes at national level the accreditation examinations for “Post-secondary year-apprenticeship class” of all specialties. Upon successful examination results, graduates are awarded the Degree in Vocational Specialty, Education and Training level 5 (Ptyxio), recognised both in Greece and in EU member states.

Q17. Is the qualification included in the National Qualification Framework (NQF)?
There is no NQF
Q19. Does the scheme provide direct access to higher education?

The “post-secondary year-apprenticeship class” is part of non-formal education, that is, education provided in an organized educational setting outside the formal education system which may lead to the acquisition of nationally recognized certificates. As such it does not provide access to higher education.

However, as learners are already graduates of the upper-secondary school-based vocational education scheme, they retain their rights to progress to higher education according to conditions (and exams) that apply for the upper-secondary programme.



Q21. If the scheme is implemented via specific apprenticeship programme, what is its duration?

The duration of “Post-secondary year-apprenticeship class” is almost nine months. More specifically 203 laboratory hours at the Vocational school and 156 working days at the workplace.

Q22. If the scheme is not implemented via specific apprenticeship programme, how is duration of apprenticeships defined in the regulation?
It Is defined as minimum and maximum share of a VET programme
Is defined as minimum share of a VET programme
Is defined as maximum share of a VET programme
Is not defined by regulation
Q23. Is there a distinction between the training time and working time for the period spent at workplace, as per regulation?
Yes, the legal framework makes this distinction
No, the legal framework makes no distinction

5Alternation of work-based (in-company) training and school-based training

Q24. Is it compulsory to alternate training between two learning venues (school and company)?

By Law 4386/2016, the “Post-Secondary Year - Apprenticeship Class” combines a seven-hour laboratory course (workshops) of specialization in the competent EPAL or Lab Centre (once a week) and the “Workplace Education Program – Apprenticeship at work” in public and private companies (28 hours/ four days per week).

Q25. Is the in-company training defined as minimum share of the apprenticeship scheme duration?
Yes, equivalent or more than 50% of scheme duration
Yes, between 20% and 50% of the scheme duration
Yes, less than 20% of the scheme duration
No, no minimum share is compulsory

By Law 4386/2016, the “Post-Secondary Year - Apprenticeship Class” combines seven hours (1 day/week) laboratory course of specialization in the competent vocational school and 28 hours (4 days/week) “Workplace Education Program – Apprenticeship at work” in public and private companies. So, 80% of the apprenticeship scheme duration must be spent at the workplace (in-company training).

Q26. What is the form of alternation of training between workplace (company) and school?
Every week includes both venues
One or more weeks (less than 1 month) spent at school followed by one or more weeks at workplace
One or more months (less than 1 year) spent at school followed by one or more months at workplace
A longer period (1-2 years) spent at school followed by a longer period spent training at workplace
Various – depends on agreements between the school and the company
Not specified

Every week each apprentice spends one day at the vocational laboratory centre (vocational school) and four days at the employer’s premises.


The laboratory course duration is 203 hours (approximately 29 days), while the workplace learning is 156 days.

Workshops are not held during school holidays (Christmas, Easter) and summer (July, August), due to teachers' employment status.

6Formal relationship with the employer

Q27. Is any contractual arrangement between the learner and company, required as per regulation?

An apprenticeship contract is signed between the employer and the apprentice and is stamped by the director of Vocational School (EPAL). The contract is provided by EPAL and has to state clearly the duration of the training program and the obligations of the company. A copy of the contract is given to the student, the employer and the EPAL school (Article 2 of Common Ministerial Decision no. 26385/16-2-2017, Quality Framework for Apprenticeship.

A template Apprenticeship contract is posted on the official website of the Greek Ministry of Education (Apprenticeship contract_Post-secondary year-Apprenticeship class) and includes the obligations and rights of the stakeholders.

The apprenticeship content that the employer has to provide is listed as an annex to the contract (in the absence of an individualised learning agreement that is foreseen but not integrated yet).

Q28. What is the nature of the contractual arrangement?
Apprenticeships are a specific type of contract
Apprenticeships are an ordinary employment contract
A formal agreement

The apprenticeship contract has been approved by the Manpower Employment Organization (as a template) and the Ministry of Labour, to include all issues arising from the Quality Framework for Apprenticeship and Greek labour legislation.

Q29. Where is the contract or the formal agreement registered?
At the school
At the Ministry of employment
At the chambers
At the Ministry of education

All apprenticeship contracts are registered in the central information system used by the Ministry of Labour for all types of employment contracts under specific field for apprenticeships (ERGANH).

Furthermore, apprentices in the public sector are registered also in the Greek State Payroll Registry.

Q30. What is the status of the learner?
Apprentice is a specific status

According to Articles 7 & 8 of the Joint Ministerial Decision for the Implementation of the “Post-secondary year-Apprenticeship class” (Φ7/155762/Δ4/19-9-2018), an apprentice has specific rights and obligations for the apprenticeship period.

The apprentice’s status is also mentioned in the Quality Framework for Apprenticeship (Article 7, apprentice work and learning conditions)  

(Joint Ministerial Decision for Apprenticeship class_2018)

(Quality Framework for Apprenticeship)


Q31. Do apprentices receive a wage or allowance?
Yes, all apprentices receive a wage (taxable income)
Yes, all apprentices receive an allowance (not a form of taxable income)
Apprentices receive a reimbursement of expenses
No form of compensation is foreseen by law

All apprentices receive a remuneration for the apprenticeship period equal to 75% of the minimum wage of the unskilled worker (as determined by the National General Collective Labor Agreement/EGSEE) for all 156 working days.

Wage by employers is in principle taxable.

In practice, the subsidised part of the wage (now paid directly to the apprentice, not through the company) is tax-free, reducing the taxable part below the taxation thresholds.


Q32. How is the apprentice wage (taxable income) set?
By law (applying for all)
By cross-sectoral collective agreements at national or local level
By sectoral collective agreements at national or local level
By firm-level collective agreements or individual agreements between apprentice and company

By law 4386/2016, the remuneration for the apprenticeship period is equal to 75% of the minimum wage of the unskilled worker (as determined by the National General Collective Labor Agreement/EGSEE) for all 156 working days.

This is reiterated by Article 9 of the Joint Ministerial Decision for the Implementation of the “Post-secondary year-Apprenticeship class” (Φ7/155762/Δ4/19-9-2018).

The employer’s contribution to the social security of the apprentice is equal to 37.78% of ½ of the actual wage the apprentice receives.

Q33. Who covers the cost of the wage or allowance of the apprentice?

According to the current provisions, apprentices of “Post-secondary year-apprentice class during their presence at the workplace (156 days), are paid a salary equal to 75% on the minimum wage of the unskilled worker (29.04€ / day), that is, 21.78€ / day.

Employer pays 9.30€ (including social insurance contributions) and the 16.54€ subsidy is paid directly to the apprentice and is co-financed by the NSRF 2014-20 (ESF funding).

An informative note for future (or current) employers is posted on the official website of the Greek Ministry of Education, where guidelines on how to offer an apprenticeship place, employers financial charges, insurance obligations etc. are listed.


Q34. Does the wage or allowance of the apprentice cover both the time spent at school and in the company?
No, it covers only the time spent in the company

8Responsibility of employers

Q35. Is the company hosting apprentices required by regulation to follow a training plan at the workplace?
Yes, the training plan is agreed at the level of school and company
Yes, the training plan is based on the national/sectoral requirements for the in-company training
No, is not required formally

Curricula are designed in particular for the "Post-secondary year-Apprenticeship class" and are regulated by decision of the Minister of Education, based on the opinion of the Institute for educational Policy (IEP).

There is special provision for the workplace component of learning, according to Article 4 of Common Ministerial Decision no. 26385/16-2-2017, Quality Framework for Apprenticeship:

Educational programmes at the workplace are developed and implemented and should include the main learning outcomes (knowledge, skills, competences) that are required for a graduate's initial access to the specific specialty (professional specification) and / or for the development of horizontal skills and / or for specifications in specialties. Learning outcomes can be developed individually (in separate modules) or in combination (technical and horizontal skills together). They can also provide learning and assessment instructions. Workplace Learning Programmes are developed based on existing occupational profiles of each specialty and are updated accordingly with the occupational profiles, which are updated in accordance with EOPEPP. In addition, workplace learning Programmes will be developed in accordance with the (new) Framework for Quality Curricula.

These provisions apply across all apprenticeship schemes to ensure common quality standards.

The article also foresees that individualised learning agreements are signed by the employer, the learner and the school and complement the apprenticeship contract. Unfortunately, the specific provision of the article is not fully implemented. The current application is to include the general apprenticeship curricula for the relevant specialty as an annex to the contract, to indicate to the employer what needs to be taken into consideration for the workplace training provision.

Q36. What are the requirements on companies to provide placements, as per regulation?
Have to provide a suitable learning environment
Have to provide a mentor / tutor / trainer

According to Article 5 of Common Ministerial Decision no. 26385/16-2-2017, Quality Framework for Apprenticeship employers must:

  • sign the Apprenticeship Contact
  • provide good conditions for on-the-job training, have the appropriate facilities and equipment, and designate a responsible trainer for trainees
  • meet the necessary hygiene conditions and employee safety and provide them with necessary personal protective equipment during workplace learning
  • must inform the apprentice of the activities, objects and areas of the job and integrate it into the work environment.
  • contribute to the acquisition of personal skills and the formation of work culture in the apprentice.
  • comply with the terms of the apprenticeship agreement and the terms set out in the learning agreement.
Q37. Are there any sanctions on companies that do not provide training to apprentices at the workplace?

There is no information on arrangements for compensation, in case a company cannot ensure the acquisition of all required learning outcomes for company-based learning as defined by the curriculum.

In practice, if the company fails to provide the indicated training, the contract can be eventually terminated, and the school would be less willing to co-operate with that company in the future.

Q38. What is the role of chambers, employers’ and employees’ representatives, sectoral councils (if existent), in shaping apprenticeship content, as per regulation?
Role in designing qualification
Role in designing curricula
No role

At national level the competent bodies for these functions in apprenticeships are the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Labour and OAED.

As described in Q35, EPAL apprenticeship curricula are significantly based on the relevant occupational profiles, which are developed by national level social partners under the supervision of EOPPEP (Social partners are also represented in EOPPEP’s governing board).

Since 2016-17, involvement of social partners, chambers and labour market representatives is further promoted in the overall apprenticeship governance:

  • The National Apprenticeship Coordinating Body, aiming to improve the institutional framework for apprenticeship and the design, implementation and evaluation of apprenticeship programmes, includes social partners, employers' and employees' organizations and local authorities - in addition to the representatives of the Ministry of Education representatives of the Ministry of Labor and OAED.
  • Representatives of relevant ministries, social partners, the Central Association of Chambers, and the National Institute for Labour and Human Capital, participate in the National Council for Education and Development of the Human Capital.  The council’s aim is to provide advice and scientific guidance on major issues related to the design of educational policy in the context of the promotion of knowledge, sustainable development, the use of human resources capacities, the promotion of inclusive employment and, in general, the link between education and the labour market and employment.
  • In addition, the selection and the development of the occupational profiles as well as the development of the apprenticeship curricula will take into account the outcomes of the national Mechanism of Diagnosis of Labour Market Needs, in which social partners and labour market authorities are represented and/or contribute with their input.



Q39. What is the role of chambers, employers’ and employees’ representatives in implementing the apprenticeship scheme, as per regulation?
Role in final assessment of apprentices
Role in accreditation of companies
Role in monitoring of the in-company training
No role

According to Article 4 of Common Ministerial Decision no. 26385/16-2-2017, Quality Framework for Apprenticeship, representatives of social partners, sectoral associations or chambers may sit in the panel for the final assessment together with VET teachers. However, this provision is not integrated in the daily operation of the scheme yet.

There is not a regulated role for representatives of social partners in the actual delivery the apprenticeship scheme.

At local level, newly established Teams supporting apprenticeship across schemes (comprising OAED and VET school teachers, both EPAS and EPAL) may include representatives of local chambers, employers’ and employees’ associations to reach out to local companies, in the effort to increase placements in the private sector.

Nevertheless, the social partners have taken the initiative to promote apprenticeship methodology for teachers and trainers (Centre for the Development of Educational Policy of the of Greek Workers (GSEE)).

In addition, the Union of Hellenic Chambers of Commerce (UHCC) has designed the project “Upgrading and Enhancing Apprenticeship - Apprenticeship Partnerships”, which has been integrated and funded by the Operational Program “Development Education and Lifelong Learning” of the NSRF 2014-2020. The UHCC is a co-beneficiary together with the NSRF Staff Sector for Employment and Social Economy (EDKO), of the Ministry of Labour, Social Security and Social Solidarity. The project contributes to the strengthening of the apprenticeship system in Greece through the dual system to tackle youth unemployment. The main objective of the project is to attract businesses and to support the creation of apprenticeship places as well as to support the implementation of apprenticeships in these businesses.