The publication of the Organic law for the organisation and integration of vocational education and training culminates a long process of making VET a lever of change for economic growth, initiated in 2018. It is one of the milestones of the 2020 Plan for the modernisation of vocational training. It replaces the 2002 regulation and establishes a new VET model based on three main pillars: VET provision, validation of prior learning and career guidance.

Flexible and accessible VET offer

The new law establishes a single, modular and flexible offer of formal vocational training from a lifelong learning perspective. The government aims to resize the training offer, creating 135 000 new places in IVET until 2023 to meet present and future demand. Dedicated funding (EUR 253.99 million) is ensured from the national Recovery and Resilience Facility.

The new VET system provides a range of training courses of different lengths and learning volumes ranging from small units or micro-training (Grado A), learning modules (Grado B) to VET programmes (Grados C and D) and specialisation courses (Grado E). This formal VET provision is cumulative, certifiable and accreditable, enabling IVET learners, as well as employed and unemployed people, to design and progress in their own training pathways to meet personal needs, expectations and abilities.

It expands the dual principle, setting two intensity regimes for programme types C and D (respectively, professional certificates and VET diplomas); in the general regime, 25%-35% of the total programme duration is delivered in a workplace, whereas in the intensive regime this part is above 35% and learners have to enter into a training contract. Royal Decree-Law 32/2021 modified the regulation of all labour contracts, including the earlier ‘training and apprenticeship contract’ which may now have two modalities:

  • alternance training contract (contrato de formación en alternancia), which can last between 3 months and 2 years, allowing several companies to participate in a contract for the same training programme; and
  • contract for professional practice according to the qualification level (contrato formativo para la obtención de la práctica profesional adecuada al nivel de estudios), for (VET) graduates up to 3 years after receiving a qualification (5 years in the case of disabled people). It can last between 6 months and 1 year.

Other issues touched upon by the new VET Act include:

  • the role and responsibilities of tutors in vocational training centres (tutor dual del centro de formación profesional) and in companies (tutor o tutora dual de empresa u organismo equiparado);
  • teaching of foreign languages, internationalisation of the vocational training system, enabling double degrees through international agreements, and fostering bilingualism;
  • encouraging participation in international projects for innovation and alliances to carry out mobility experiences in another country during training.

Validation of skills acquired through professional experience

The new regulation takes on board the new scenario set by Royal Decree 143/2021 on the recognition of prior learning acquired through work experience. It consolidates the 2021 reform, opening a permanent procedure for validation of professional skills acquired by non-formal and informal learning, and abolishing the occasional calls limited to some units of competence. It also advances new lines, such as targeting all existing units of competence, implementation through all vocational training centres; guaranteeing the necessary training offer to complement non-accredited competences; and fostering companies’ involvement in the accreditation of their workers’ competences.

Career guidance

Helping everyone make informed training decisions before finishing compulsory schooling and throughout their working life is another challenge addressed by this Act. It establishes a comprehensive vocational career guidance system, defining its mission, objectives, aims and provisions:

  • customised support and advice for learners (young people and adults, employed or unemployed), companies, VET organisations and institutions;
  • it covers the whole spectrum of vocational training provision and processes for validation of competences for all types of qualification offered in the new VET system;
  • it helps the adjustment between existing skills and those in demand in the labour market; it establishes training itineraries so individuals can effectively acquire the desired professional competences.


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Please cite this news item as: ReferNet Spain; Cedefop (2022). Spain: VET revolution. Setting the pace for a new model for vocational education and training. National news on VET