1Target group

Q7. What is the target group of this scheme?
Young people in initial vocational education and training (15-16 year-olds)
Young adults in education and training (above 16 year-olds)
Unemployed
Other (please specify in the description)

Apprenticeship training is targeted at:

  • people who have completed or have not completed basic and upper secondary education, but who do not have any professional skills;
  • younger people who prefer practical training to school-based studies, often identified as students with low academic levels;
  • unemployed people;
  • already working employees that do not have a required qualification.
Q8. What is the age of learners?
Between 15 and 18
Between 18 and 24
Above 24

There is no age limit for pursuing apprenticeship training. In 2013/14, there were about 583 students in WBL; most of the students (about 71%) were older than 25 years, while 24% were aged 20-24. The share of WBL students aged above 25 has been growing from 55% in 2009/10 to 71% in 2013/2014[1].

 

[1] Due to the formal VET recognition in Estonia (CVET is recognised as formal VET), data covers apprenticeships in both IVET and CVET. https://cumulus.cedefop.europa.eu/files/vetelib/2015/ReferNet_EE_2014_WBL.pdf

2Overview of the scheme

Q9. Is the scheme included in the ISCED 2011 mapping?
Yes
No

The apprenticeship scheme is not included separately in the ISCED 2011 mapping, but apprenticeship training can be pursued in the following programmes:

  • vocational education for persons who do not have basic education and who have exceeded the age of compulsory school attendance – prog. 02.03 , ISCED-P 2011 level 251/253 (2C);
  • vocational courses based on basic education – prog. 03.03, ISCED-P 2011 level 351/353 (3C);
  • vocational secondary education – prog. 03.04, ISCED-P 2011 level 354 (3B);
  • vocational education based on secondary education – prog. 04.02, ISCED-P 2011 level 454 (4B);
  • specialised vocational training (EQF level 5, established during the 2013/2014 academic year, not previously available, ISCED-P 2011 level 454).
Q10 - Is the scheme part of the VET system?
Yes, it is the main route in the VET system
Yes, but it is considered a second-chance route
No, it is an alternative pathway outside of formal VET

Apprentices can study at all levels and in all programmes in the Estonian VET system. The only exception is level 351/353 (3C) programmes, where the apprentices can enter directly, while the other students have to enter the level 354 (3B) programme first and show that they have difficulties with the general education part of the curriculum.

Q11 - When was the scheme introduced?
Long history (before 2000)
Recently introduced (between 2000-2012)
New pathway (after 2012)

The scheme was formally introduced in 2006 (see Q5).

Q12 - 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
programmes for the unemployed (active labour market measures) to facilitate integration on the labour market
Other

The workplace-based learning was legalised as a new study form in addition to the school-based study form.

Q13 - What are the major sources of financing of the in-company training part of the apprenticeship scheme?
By companies hosting apprentices
By employers through sectoral funds
By the state from the education budget
By the state from the labour / social security budget
By EU funding
Other

Estonia finances the apprenticeship training from state budget (around 600 study places per year) and from EU structural funds (benchmark for year 2020 – 8000 study places[1]). The financing principles and legal basis from both financing sources are the same. The Ministry of Education and Research orders study places in both financing schemes. EU structural funds aim at expanding apprenticeship training. After 2020, apprenticeship training is planned to be funded solely through state funds.

However, there may also be other arrangements to fund an apprenticeship programme depending on the agreement between the vocational education institution and the enterprise. If the training of the students is in the interest of the employer, the company may take on the entire financial burden related to the company-based training, whereas if the apprentice is sent to the company by the school, the school pays the salary for the supervisor in the enterprise.

 

[1] Due to the formal VET recognition in Estonia (CVET is recognised as formal VET), data covers apprenticeships in both IVET and CVET.

Q14 - Are there any financial incentives for companies that offer apprenticeship places?
Yes, subsidies
Yes, tax deductions
Yes, other incentives
No financial incentives

The state finances VET schools and in turn they offer training for company trainers and pay up to 50% of the cost of the study place to the in-company trainer.

Q15 - Is the scheme temporary, meaning that it is financed for a limited period of time?
Yes
No
Q16. How many learners are enrolled in this scheme?
593 apprentices in 2015/2016

In school year 2015/2016, there were 593 learners in apprenticeship training in IVET[1] (678 total).[2]

 

According to the Estonian education information system, there were already 927 apprentices in May 2016. The number of apprentices is growing every month by around 70 learners.

 

[2] Officials indicated that according to the Estonian education information system, there were already 927 apprentices in May 2016. The number of apprentices is growing every month by around 70 learners. However, as the Estonian education information system is was not accessible, the latest data provided is from the sources that were accessible to researchers for verification.

Q17 - How many learners are enrolled in this scheme in relation to all VET students?
the main VET track (majority of VET learners - more than 60% of VET learners)
strong VET track (important share of VET learners - between 30%-60%)
minor track (small share of learners - between 10% and 30%)
very small track (less than 10%)
Apprentices are not considered as learners (they are employees)

In school year 2015/2016, there were 24 397 learners in IVET[1].

 

The total number of 593 apprentices in 2015/2016 represents around 2.4% of the total number of learners in upper secondary VET.

Q18 - How many learners are enrolled in the scheme in relation to all programmes for learners of the same age group?
the main track (majority of learners - more than 60% of all learners)
strong track (important share of all learners - between 30%-60%)
minor track (small share of learners - between 10% and 30%)
very small track (less than 10%)

In school year 2015/2016, there were:

  • 36 481 learners in general education (aged 15-24)[1];
  • 27 106 learners in higher education (aged 20-24 and less than 20)[2];
  • 24 397 learners in IVET[3].

The total number of 593 apprentices in 2015/2016 represents around 0.7% of the total 87 984 number of learners in all programmes of the same group.

Q19 - Does the apprenticeship scheme result in a qualification?
Yes
No
Q20 - Which is the type of qualification obtained through the apprenticeship scheme?
Educational qualification
Occupational / sectoral qualification

VET qualifications awarded:

  • Vocational Education Institution Leaving Certificate (for levels 2 to 5 of EQF/NQF);
  • Vocational Education Institution Leaving Certificate for acquiring vocational education based on basic education;
  • Vocational Education Institution Leaving Certificate for acquiring vocational secondary education;
  • Certificate of Vocational Secondary Education Based on Secondary Education.

3Qualifications

Q21 - Is the qualification included in the National Qualification Framework (NQF)
Yes
No
There is no NQF

In the curricula the expected learning outcomes are defined for levels 2-5 of Estonian Qualification Framework (equal to European Qualification Framework levels 2-5).

Q23 - Does the scheme provide direct access to higher education?
Yes
No

ISCED 2011 mapping scheme indicates that prog. 03.04 “Vocational secondary education” and prog. 04.02 “Vocational education based on secondary education” provide direct access to ISCED level 6 education.

 

Prog. 02.03 “Vocational education for persons who do not have basic education and who have exceeded the age of compulsory school attendance” and prog. 03.03 “Vocational courses based on basic education” do not provide direct access to higher educational level.

4Duration

Q24. What is the duration of the VET pathway? (please refer to the typical duration)
3 months -2,5 years

The duration of the studies depends on the particular ISCED level and specific programme (as well as on the student’s curriculum), and can vary between 3 months and 2.5 years.

 Study volume in credit points (1 year – 60 credits) by EQF levels:

Level 2: 15-120 (3 months – 2 years).

Level 3: 15-120 (3 months – 2 years).

Level 4: Basic training – 15-150 (3 months – 2 years) (180 credits (2,5 years) for secondary VET programmes), Advanced training (based on secondary education): 15-60 (3 months – 1 year).

Level 5: Basic training – 120-150 (1-1,5 years), Advanced training: 15-60 (3 months – 1 year).

Q25 - How is the length of stay in apprenticeships defined in the regulation?
Is defined as minimum and maximum
Is defined as minimum
Is defined as maximum
Is not defined by regulation

The length of stay depends on the different curricula. At least two-thirds of the curricula (at any level) must be held in company.

Q26 - Is there a distinction between the training and working period for the time 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

Q27 - Is in-company training a compulsory part of the scheme, as per regulation?
Yes
No

As per Article 1 of the Policies and Conditions for Implementing Workplace Based Learning, WBL is a VET form in which the work practice in a company represents at least two-thirds of the curriculum.

Q29 - What is the form of alternation of training between workplace (company) and school / training centre?
Every week includes both venues
One or more weeks (less than 1 month) spent at VET school followed by one or more weeks at workplace
One or more months (less than 1 year) spent at VET school followed by one or more months at workplace
A longer period (1-2 years) spent at VET school followed by a longer period spent training at workplace
Various - depends on VET school / training centre
Other
Not specified

Flexible arrangements are in place for apprenticeships. Most popular arrangements are 1-2 days in school and 3-4 days in company, or 1 week in school and 3-4 weeks in company. Also, all training can be held in one big company – in this case, VET school teachers are also teaching the theoretical part in company. Training may also start in school for 2-4 weeks before the start of alternation. It all depends on the agreement about the arrangement between the company and school, and curricula or job requirements.

6Formal relationship with the employer

Q30 - Is any contractual arrangement between the learner, company and/or education and training provider, required as per regulation?
Yes
No

The relationship between the VET institution, the pupil or his/her legal representative and the company that conducts the work practice is regulated by a contract signed by all three parties before commencement of the work practice, setting out the specific organisation of WBL and the rights and obligations of the parties to the contract.

Q31 - Which parties enter a contractual relationship?
Learner and employer
Learner, employer and the education and training institution
Education and training institution and the employer (not the learner)
Other
No contract is required

If the apprentice is a minor, his/her legal representative signs the contract.

Q32 - What is the nature of the contract?
Apprenticeships are a specific contract covered by the Labour Code
Apprenticeships are a form of employment contract
Formal agreement, not covered by the Labour Code

The apprentices retain their status as students, unless the apprentice signs a work contract with the company (which is then covered by the Labour Code).

The apprenticeship contract is only partly covered by the Labour Code (in terms of regulating the working time).

Q33 - Where is the contract registered?
At the education and training institution
At the employment office
At the chambers
At the Ministry of education
Other

The contract is registered at the VET school.

Q34 - What is the status of the learner?
Apprentice is a specific status
Student
Employee
Other

Apprenticeship training participants are entitled to all the customary rights of vocational school students but also wages are paid to the apprentice.

7Remuneration

Q35 - Do apprentices receive a salary, allowance or compensation?
Yes, all apprentices receive a salary (taxable income)
Yes, all apprentices receive an allowance (not a form of taxable income)
Apprentices receive a reimbursement of expenses
Compensation is possible but not required
No form of compensation is foreseen by law

The remuneration is equal to or exceeding the national minimum wage established by the Government, EUR 430/month or EUR 2.54/hour in 2016). The wage is a form of taxable income (as a regular salary).

In addition to the wage, students may get:

  • a scholarship of EUR 60/month (for the best students, starting from the 2nd semester);
  • travel compensation (public transport from home to school);
  • school lunches (under 21 years old, for pupils in lower secondary education only).
Q36 - Who pays the salary / allowance of the apprentice?
Employers
State
Other

The employer pays the salary to the learner established in the trilateral apprenticeship contract. If a work contract is signed between the company and the student, the salary is not indicated in the trilateral contract.

However, the study place is funded by the state. It concerns the part of the curriculum that takes place at school, and the salary for the trainer at school. The school can pay maximum 50% of the cost of study place to the company, for the salary of the in-company trainer.

Q37 - Is the company hosting apprentices required to provide training at the workplace?
Yes, obligation to provide training at the workplace is required in the contract
Yes, it is required by law
Yes, required by other regulations
No, not required formally

According to the apprenticeship contracts, the company is obliged to provide a supervisor based in the workplace.

8Responsibility of employers

Q38 - What are the requirements on training companies, as per regulation?
Have to provide a mentor / tutor / trainer
Have to provide learning environment
Have to ensure learning support
Have to develop a training plan
Other

The tripartite contract specifies the organisation of WBL and the rights and obligations of the parties to the contract.

Before entering into WBL contract the VET institution together with the company that conducts the work practice assess:

  • The learning conditions in enterprise where the practical training will take place,
  • Its readiness to fulfil the aims of the curricula and to guarantee the health and safety protection.
  • An additional assessment of enterprise is possible in the course of practical training.

Two supervisors are appointed for students in WBL (one based in VET institution and one based in workplace) taking into account their professional and pedagogical competence. The enterprise is obliged to guarantee the appropriate work arrangements necessary for implementing the WBL (Articles 2 and 3 of the Policies and Conditions for Implementing Workplace Based Learning).

 

The school and the company work out a training plan in cooperation (however, the main responsibility for the plan lies with the school).

Q39 - Are there any sanctions on companies that do not provide training to apprentices at the workplace?
Yes
No

Companies participate in apprenticeship training voluntarily.

No information was found on sanctions on companies that are already participating in apprenticeship training and fail to provide training at the workplace.

Q40 - What is the role of chambers, employers' and employees' representatives (social partners), sectoral councils (if existent), in apprenticeships, as per regulation?
Roles in designing qualifications/ curricula
Roles in final assessment of apprentices
Roles in quality assurance of work-based VET
Responsible for the regulation of the contract
Other
No role

At local level, social partners participate in VET school advisory bodies which consist of at least seven people and are formed by the owner of a school for 5 years. The role of advisory body is to connect the school and society and to advise the school and manager of school upon planning the development and organisation of teaching and education and economic activities. Among other activities the advisory body provides assessment on the organisation of practical training at school, institutions and enterprises.

The Chambers are also involved as awarding bodies and are responsible for qualification exams. They participate in assessment commissions and accreditation council of accrediting curricula groups of VET Schools