In June 2014, the county authority of Østfold, with support from the Norwegian Directorate for Education and Training, organised Østfold’s largest job interview. The event gathered 200 vocational education and training (VET) students and 100 representatives from enterprises in the county. In two days about 570 job interviews were conducted between students and enterprises.

The event wanted to identify local challenges and solutions to VET in Østfold. It created a meeting place for young people searching for apprenticeships, and enterprises looking for apprentices. Before the event young people were trained in job interview techniques and CV writing. For enterprises the event was a platform to meet potential future employees.

The event was also part of a broader commitment to VET through the ‘Social contract for more apprenticeships’ (Samfunnskontrakten), signed in 2012 by social partners, local and national authorities. One of its main objectives is to tackle a recurring challenge of providing enough apprenticeship placements. Apprenticeship training is embedded in Norwegian upper secondary VET, as most programmes follow a 2+2 model. The model entails two years of schooling, followed by two years of apprenticeship training in an enterprise. However, in December 2013 there were 5 750 young people in Norway who did not succeed to sign an apprenticeship contract.

Statistics show that most of those who get apprenticeships complete training with a certificate. Thus, providing more apprenticeships is critical to increase numbers of young people who complete their education with VET qualifications.

Some students were recruited immediately during the job interview event. Others who most probably would not have been able to find apprenticeships on their own, were recruited as well.

The Østfold county authority also contacted local enterprises and encouraged them to train young people and accept apprentices.

The experience from Østfold has inspired other counties to conduct similar events. Some counties have signalled they would like to implement a large job interview event to ease the transition from school-based learning to apprenticeship training. The Directorate of Education and Training has therefore started to develop a toolbox with examples of press releases, radio spots, invitation letters to enterprises, brochures, etc. for other counties to use if they wish to implement a large job interview event.

More information (in Norwegian):

Applicants for apprenticeships and approved contracts in 2014

Social contract for more apprenticeships

Østfold’s largest job interview

Norwegian Directorate for Education and Training

Hva gjør de som ikke fikk læreplass?