A launching meeting for Cedefop’s thematic country review on apprenticeships in Slovenia took place in Ljubljana on 16 June. The meeting was hosted by the Ministry of Education, Science and Sports (MESS) of Slovenia. Representatives of the responsible ministries (education, labour and economy), VET providers and the social partners took part; they represent a group that meets on a regular basis to discuss issues of VET development.

Ms Andreja Barle Lakota, the State Secretary of the MESS opened the meeting. She explained the importance of apprenticeship for Slovenia and informed about the latest policy developments. There is a clear political willingness in the country to strengthen work-based learning, including apprenticeship as one of the learning pathways in initial and continuous VET.

Slava Pevec Grm, expert (Cedefop), outlined benefits to the country from using Cedefop’s expertise to support efforts to establish a sustainable model of apprenticeship that fits national context and need. Irina Jemeljanova, expert (Cedefop), presented the methodology of the review that relies on the participatory approach and involving broad range of stakeholders and beneficiaries, such as VET providers, employers, companies, students, parents.  Identifying specific national key policy challenges as a focus of the analysis and evaluation is key for reaching meaningful results.

Slovenia has increased the proportion of practical training in its VET programmes, which are mostly school-based. How can good practices be kept and expanded? How can the existing arrangements be used to support apprenticeships in the sectors with most need for skilled workforce?

The participants thought that the review process can help the country re-assess the lessons learned from the past experience of apprenticeship in the 90s and also bring know-how from other countries that have effective apprenticeship systems. They would also be interested to learn from the pilot reviews in Lithuania and Malta that Cedefop conducted in 2014-15. The review can help to support the dialogue that is already taking place in the country and help the government to strengthen the link between VET and the labour market.

The Ministry of Education, Science and Sport nominated a steering group that includes representatives of the Ministry, the Ministry of Labour, Family, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities, the National Institute for VET, VET providers, Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Chamber of Commerce and Chamber of Craft and Small Business. The Steering group will take active part in setting the priorities for the review, shaping the review activities and validating the results.

To sum up, the review can be useful to define the place of apprenticeship in the VET system; clarify roles and responsibilities of all relevant stakeholders and motivate and stimulate implementation. The overall expectation is that the review can help develop good evidence base for policy decisions and suggest possible scenarios for developing apprenticeship in Slovenia.