Reference year 2019
Dual vocational training targets learners of minimum 15 years of age (who have turned or will turn 15 by the end of the year).
As a general rule, the ‘apprenticeship contract’ can be signed with young people from 16 to 25 years old. However, the age limit (minimum and maximum) is not applicable in the case of people with disabilities, at risk of social exclusion, or in the case of learners participating in certain training programmes organised by the Public Employment Services under active labour market policies.
Students of Dual VET under a cooperation agreement in the education system must be 15 years old for enrolment (to start the training), but without a maximum age limit.
Website Servicio Público de Empleo Estatal (SEPE)
According to the information published by the Servicio Público de Empleo Estatal (SEPE), during 2017 and 2018 approximately half of the total of 121.120 “apprenticeship” contracts were held with young people, aged between 16 and 24 years old.
There is no information about the age of learners in the Dual VET in the education system.
2Overview of the scheme
VET upper secondary and tertiary level –that can be implemented as dual VET- are included in the ISCED 2011 mapping with the following codes:
- Basic VET (lower secondary). ISCED 353 (Secondary level)
- Intermediate VET programs. ISCED 354 (upper secondary level)
- Higher VET programs. ISCED 554 (Tertiary level)
VET provided by labour administrations that lead to Professional Certificates-that can be implemented as Dual VET- are included in the ISCED 2011 mapping with the following codes:
- Professional certificate programs Level 1. ISCED 254
- Professional certificate programs Level 2. ISCED 351
- Professional certificate programs Level 3. ISCED 453
Source: Cedefop and ReferNet Spain https://www.cedefop.europa.eu/files/4168_en_es.pdf
Vocational education and training (VET) is mainly the responsibility of education and employment authorities, and Dual VET is part of the Spanish VET. 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. The General Council for Vocational Training is the national government advisory body on VET policy; it comprises representatives of national and regional public authorities as well as the social partners (enterprises and trade unions). 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, which make up the national register (CNCP) and are used as reference for designing and updating VET programmes and qualifications.
VET qualifications can be acquired through dual VET.
Source: Cedefop and Refernet Spain https://www.cedefop.europa.eu/files/4168_en_es.pdf
Dual Vocational Training was introduced in 2012 and it is regulated by Royal Decree 1529/2012, approved in 2012.
Since 2014 all the Autonomous Communities (Regions) have programmes delivered in this modality. http://todofp.es/sobre-fp/informacion-general/formacion-profesional-dual/proyectos-fp-dual-espana.html
The background to the development of dual VET (the ‘apprenticeship contract’ and the cooperation agreement) includes:
* A previous regulation on qualifications (Organic Act 5/2002, of June 19 on qualifications and vocational education and training) that indicates the need to further promote the cooperation of companies with the qualifications and VET system, by facilitating professional practical learning of learners in companies. It also calls for the development of mechanisms to allow public funding to be allocated to education centres or directly to companies through agreements or other procedures.
* A previous regulation on Education (Organic Law of Education 2/2006 of 3 May) also included a work-based learning period in a company in regular VET programmes.
*A previous regulation to promote youth employment (Royal Decree-Law 10/2011, of August 26). This legislation modified the formerly called ‘training contracts’ to the current ‘apprenticeship contract’. This type of contract aims at promoting young people’s access to employment and training through an alternance scheme.
It should be noted that all VET programmes foresee an on-the-job learning period anyway.
Apprenticeship contract between a company and an apprentice
Companies pay for the learner working hours. Pay is established by collective agreements and adjusted to the number of hours worked.
The public employment service finances training by:
- Providing training in its own training centres (National Reference Centres-Centros Nacionales de Referencia) or covering training costs of private authorized training centres.
- Reimbursing training costs for companies, in case training is provided by companies. The maximum costs are calculated by multiplying the number of training hours (25% of the work period in the first year and 15% in the second and third years) by 8 Euros (regular training) or 5 Euros (distance learning). There is also a reimbursement of costs concerning the tutoring hours of the company’s tutor (1.5 euros per student and tutoring hour, with a maximum of 40 hours per month and learner). Reimbursement is done through reductions in companies’ social security contributions.
- Allocating funds to Autonomous Communities and the ministry of education for training activities delivered by schools that fall under apprenticeship contracts.
Cooperation agreement between the school and the company:
- The ministry of education funds the training provided by schools.
- The company covers the costs of the training provided at the company (e.g. tutoring time at the company).
- Companies can pay an allowance or a scholarship to the learner/student.
- Government and the Autonomous Communities can pay an allowance or a scholarship to the learner.
- Other entities can pay an allowance to the learner (‘other entities’ are not further defined).
Regardless of the instrument to implement dual VET (apprenticeship contract or cooperation agreement), EU funding can be allocated to training providers implementing dual education projects. As an example, the Autonomous Community of Castile and Leon allocated funds from the European Social Fund and the Spanish ministry of education to grant-aided private schools developing different innovation projects in VET, including dual VET projects.
Sources: Royal Decree 1529/2012; Order ESS/2518/2013; Order ESS/41/2015.
Order EDU/926/2015 of October 26 (Castile and Leon).
In the “Apprenticeship contract” there are reductions in companies’ social security and bonuses for the training.
In the “cooperation agreement” it is possible or not, that financial incentives to companies that host students exist in the different Autonomous Communities.
There could be no financial incentives for companies that have students under a cooperation agreement umbrella (depending on the Autonomous Region).
According to the information published by the Servicio Público de Empleo Estatal (SEPE), during 2017 and 2018, a total of 121.120 “apprenticeship” contracts were signed between companies and young workers.
According to the information published by the Ministry of Education and Vocational Training in 2016/ 2017 school year there were 20.357 students in dual VET in the educational system in Spain.
Basic VET: 414
*Intermediate VET: 7.422
*Higher VET: 12.521
Through the apprenticeship contract sub-scheme the learner/worker can obtain the following qualifications:
Educational Qualifications (Education system)
* Compulsory Secondary Education – Basic VET Programmes- Qualification: Basic Professional Diploma
* Upper Secondary Education-Intermediate VET programmes – Qualification: Technician Diploma
* Upper Secondary Education (Tertiary Level)- Higher VET programmes – Qualification: Higher/Advanced Technician Diploma
These qualifications are officially recognised as formal VET qualifications allowing access to the next education level. The pathway could be: Basic Professional Diploma-Technician Diploma-Higher Technician Diploma. Once the learner/worker has reached a “Higher Technician Diploma” he can continue to tertiary level, with Bachelor Programmes (University)
Occupational Qualifications (Employment system)
VET provided by labour administrations lead to Professional Certificates
* Professional Certificates Programmes-Level 1
* Professional Certificates Programmes –Level 2
* Professional Certificates Programmes –Level 3
These qualifications are officially recognised as formal VET qualifications allowing access from one level of a certificate to a superior one.
There is no NQF.
The educational qualifications can be obtained through school-based VET programmes, and the professional certificates can be obtained through training provided by labour authorities.
It should be noted that these programmes include an on-the-job training period (‘workplace training module’ in VET programmes under the education system; and ‘practical training module’ in Professional Certificates). In dual VET, the in-company training module is partially or totally replaced by the alternance training. Source: Royal Decree 1529/2012.
Only Vocational training of advanced/higher level gives access to higher education.
VET – Higher/ advanced level (Higher Technician diploma) is already higher education (non-university). This degree gives access to Bachelor’s programmes provided that the student meets the criteria established by universities. These criteria refer to: final grade obtained in the studies completed or in specific modules/subjects; relationship between the curricula of the studies completed and the relevant university degree; additional academic or vocational training and previously taken higher education studies.
VET – intermediate level (Technician diploma) does not give direct access to higher education. Students can access directly, once they have obtained the Technician Diploma, to higher/advanced VET, which is part of higher education but non-university education.
The Basic professional diploma and Professional Certificates do not give access to higher education.
Source: Eurydice Countries - Spain
All Dual VET training in education or employment system (cooperation agreement or apprenticeship contract) must be linked to a VET qualification programme (VET diploma or professional certificate).
Source: Refernet Spain https://cumulus.cedefop.europa.eu/files/vetelib/2019/Vocational_Education_Training_Europe_Spain_2018_Cedefop_ReferNet.pdf
The “apprenticeship” contract last between 1 and 3 years.
In the case of an “apprenticeship contract”, time devoted to work cannot be higher than 75% in the first year, and 85% in the second and third years, of the working hours established in the collective agreement or, if there is no such agreement, of the legal maximum working hours.
In the case of a “cooperation agreement” a minimum of 33% of the total of training hours established in the VET Diploma (Basic, Intermediate or Higher) are to be spent in a company. This percentage may be extended depending on the characteristics of each professional training module and the participating company.
Source: Royal Decree 1529/2012
5Alternation of work-based (in-company) training and school-based training
Alternation is part of the definition of dual VET. The legislation establishes different alternation modalities with increasing participation of the company in training:
*training in a training centre (e.g. school) and work activity in a company;
*training with the participation of the company that provides facilities or experts for part of the training;
*training both in the training centre and in the company: some modules are delivered by the company, to complement those delivered by the training centre;
*shared training by training centre and company.
The modality most frequently used at the moment is the ‘shared training by training centre and company’.
The legislation refers to companies and ‘other entities’ such as Employment (recruitment) agencies.
Source: Royal Decree 1529/2012; ReferNet articles on apprenticeships. https://www.refernet.es/docs/default-source/informesactividades/informe_nacional_2018_en.pdf
In the “apprenticeship” contract a “training activities agreement” must be signed between the company, the apprentice and training centre. This “training activities agreement” has to be approved by Regional Public Employment Services (depending on the region where the contract is signed) and has to be annexed to the “ apprenticeship” contract and must include different aspects of the training, but in particular the annual schedule, working day, didactic program and timetable of the apprentice providing details about in- company training hours and training activities.
The implementation of Dual VET in the education system through a “cooperation agreement” depends, as in the entire educational offer, on each Autonomous Community, so the timetable and schedule of the school-based learning and the work-based learning hours can be different from one Autonomous Community (Region) to another.
Autonomous Community of Aragon (year 2016/2017): preference is given to projects which deliver the first year in the school and the second year of alternance training between the school and the company, through a 1-year employment contract.
Source: Resolution 1/3/2016.
Autonomous Community of Catalonia: the in-company training is organised in two phases. In the first phase, the learner has 80-100 hours of practical learning at the company (non-remunerated); in the second phase, the learner has remunerated learning at the company. This can be delivered according to two modalities: (1) Apprenticeship contract, with a minimum length of 1 year; (2) Allowance (training agreement between training centre, company and learner), with a length between 2 and 10 months per year.
Source: Government of Catalonia website: http://queestudiar.gencat.cat/es/estudis/fp/mesures-flexib/fp-dual/
Autonomous Community of the Basque Country: as a general rule, projects include a first year in the training centre (e.g. school) and a second year of alternance training between the centre and the company.
Source: Government of the Basque country website: http://www.hezkuntza.ejgv.euskadi.eus/r43-2638/es/contenidos/informacion/hezibi/es_def/index.shtml.
6Formal relationship with the employer
Apprenticeship contract or Cooperation agreement between training centres (schools) and companies.
Apprenticeship contract: it is included under the Labour Code under formative contracts.
Cooperation agreement between the school and the company: this is a formal agreement, not a labour contract.
Source Labour Code, Art. 11 Formative Contracts. Available at:
Apprenticeship contract: the contract needs to be submitted to the public employment service at the Employment Office.
Cooperation agreement between the training centre (e.g. school) and the company: this agreement must be authorized by the education authority (government of the Autonomous Community, or ministry of education in case of companies involved in a training project in several Autonomous Communities).
Apprenticeship contract: employee.
Cooperation agreement between the training centre (school) and the company: student (trainee).
Apprenticeship contract: payment is established in collective agreements and adjusted to the number of hours worked. In any case, it cannot be lower than the national minimum wage proportional to the hours worked.
Cooperation agreement between the training centre and the company: national-level legislation establishes that learners can receive an allowance.
Dual VET in education system (cooperation agreement) depends, as in the entire educational offer, of each Autonomous Community (Regions) and there are different approaches: learners can be offered a contract (and receive a salary), can receive a payment including also a contribution to social security (paid internship), can receive an allowance/scholarship (for transport and/or subsistence) or may have no monetary compensation.
The Autonomous Community of Catalonia has established that learners either have an apprenticeship agreement or an allowance. This allowance is agreed between the company and the training centre and cannot be inferior to the Public Income Index (3.5 Euros/hour approximately).
The Autonomous Community of the Basque Country reiterates that learners can receive an allowance. This allowance cannot be lower than the national minimum wage proportional to the hours worked. In any case, the monthly allowance cannot be lower than 60% of the monthly national minimum wage.
The Autonomous Community of Extremadura establishes a unique allowance of 1,500 Euros provided by the education authority to students in the second year of a dual VET programme.
Sources: Government of Catalonia website: http://queestudiar.gencat.cat/es/estudis/fp/mesures-flexib/fp-dual/ Decree 83/2015, of 2nd of June (Basque Country), https://www.euskadi.eus/y22-bopv/es/bopv2/datos/2015/06/1502515a.pdf; Decree 100/2014, of 3rd of June (Extremadura), http://www.educarex.es/pub/cont/com/0019/documentos/normativa/formacion-profesional/fp-dual-desarr-proyectos.pdf.
The salary of apprentices/workers hired through an apprenticeship contract shall be established in collective agreements, set in accordance with the provisions of article 11.2.g) of the Workers' Statute act, and may not be, in any case, lower than the national minimum wage proportional to the hours worked.
Source: Royal Decree 1529/2012 ( apprenticeship contract) and the
Royal Legislative Decree 2/2015, of October 23, approving the revised text of the Workers' Statute Law https://www.boe.es/buscar/act.php?id=BOE-A-2015-11430&p=20151024&tn=2
Apprenticeship contract: payment by the company
Cooperation agreement between the training centre and the company: allowances can be paid by the company, public institutions or other entities (foundations, etc.).
In the apprenticeship contract, the salary covers only the effective working time of the apprentice, that cannot be superior to 75% during the first year and the 85% during the second and third year of the working hours established in the collective agreement or, if there is no such agreement, of the legal maximum working hours.
In the cooperation agreement, there is no salary, only an allowance or scholarship but it only covers the effective time spent by the student in the in-company training.
8Responsibility of employers
In the apprenticeship contract, a training activities agreement must be signed between the company, the apprentice and training centre. This training activities agreement has to be approved by Regional Public Employment Services (depending on the region where the contract is signed) and has to be annexed to the apprenticeship contract and must include different aspects of the training, but in particular the annual schedule, the working day organisation (including work, learning activities that the apprentice has needs to complete both in the company and in the training centre), didactic program and timetable of the apprentice where the in- company training hours and the training activities are detailed.
The implementation of Dual VET in the education system through a cooperation agreement depends, as in the entire educational offer, of each Autonomous Community (Regions), but a training activities agreement is mandatory (Royal Decree 1529/2012) and must be signed between the school and the company. This training activities agreement must include the activities to be carried in the company and in the school, its extension, and the assessments and marking criteria.
Source Royal Decree 1529/2012
Apprenticeship contract and cooperation agreement: companies are obliged to designate a tutor. While the legislation does not establish that this tutor should provide training as such, it does determine that he or she should monitor the cooperation agreement, and support the employee during working periods to assess the development of the training programme and establish training support when necessary. The company tutor also needs to cooperate with the tutor at the training centre to evaluate learning.
In the Apprenticeship contract there are reductions in companies’ social security contributions and bonuses for the training, provided that the company complies with the obligations related to training activity and those set out in the contract. If the company does not comply with these obligations, it will have to reimburse the applied bonuses.
In the cooperation agreement, it is possible or not, that financial incentives to companies that host students exist in the different Autonomous Communities (Regions)
Source: Royal Decree 1529/2012
Social partners were consulted during the drafting of legislation on dual VET, as well as in the process of design of the National Youth Guarantee Plan.
Also, there is an ongoing reflection process on dual VET involving the government, the Autonomous Communities (regions), employer’s representatives, and representatives of education and training providers. The objective is to assess the ongoing experiences and agree on what should be regulated in more detail in the future.
Social partners are also consulted when designing the curricula of VET programmes, through the ‘VET General Council’ and the ‘State School Council’ (government advisory bodies), which include representatives of employers’ and employees’ organizations, among other entities.
In the case of dual VET through cooperation agreement between the training centre and the company, in many cases agreements are pre-signed with the Chambers of Commerce, as interim commitments with the companies. Chambers search and encourage participation of companies. They also provide materials, training and information to the enterprises and to the company trainers.
The National Council of Chambers of Commerce is cooperating with the ministry of education by offering help to SMEs with bureaucratic aspects related to work-place training and the development of training of in-company trainers.
Source: Royal Decree 1529/2012; Order ESS/41/2015; ReferNet Cedefop articles on apprenticeships.
The implementation of the apprenticeship scheme, as per regulation is the role of the Education and Employment Administrations ( Central and regional).