Vocational qualification courses (VQC) are a new form of continuing vocational education and training (CVET) for adults. Since its implementation in 2012/13, one year has passed and first results are available. Is the number of 19 500 students a good start?

VQC is based on the Education System Act amendment of 2011 and was first introduced in the 2012/13 school year. VQC makes it possible for adults to acquire or complete vocational education.

A new classification of vocational education includes 200 occupations. VQC can currently be organised for 214 professional qualifications in 162 occupations.

The VQC curriculum is based on the core curriculum for occupations (the same as for young people). The minimum number of training hours cannot be lower than the minimum number of hours of vocational education defined in the core curriculum for occupations. The minimum number of hours can be reduced to 65% for part-time courses.

Completing VQC allows students to take an external examination confirming a vocational qualification, conducted under the same conditions and according to the same rules as for initial VET students.

  • VQC are organised as full- or part-time courses and methods of distance learning are used. Practical and laboratory courses have to be taught in a traditional way;
  • First results from the 2012/13 school year shows that this new form of CVET was well accepted by the educational market;
  • VQC was provided in 89 of 215 qualifications for which such courses exist;
  • Some 19 532 participants were acquiring qualifications using VQC;
  • Most popular courses were: (a) exploitation of underground resources (mining), with 7279 students – 39% of all VQC students; (b) agricultural activity, with 2 066 participants;
  • all types of education providers organised VQC in the 2012/13 school year, most (49%) were non-public schools and institutions;
  • share of public schools and institutions with vocational and continuing education centres amounted to 43%;
  •   a high proportion of schools among VQC providers (53% - public and non-public schoolscombined) confirms that vocational qualification courses provided by schools as a form of continuing education is a very good solution;
  •  some 88% of students who chose this form of education passed the vocational exam.

VQC enable students to complete vocational qualifications flexibly and conveniently regardless of their previous education. This form of CVET seems to have positive perspectives for the future.