In recent years, many EU countries have recognised apprenticeship as a valuable element of vocational education and training (VET). The Apprenticeship Act (2017) and the Guidelines for the preparation of the upper secondary VET programmes define the umbrella elements for the newly established apprenticeship path in Slovenian VET.
The Ministry of Education issued a decision on the introduction of pilot apprenticeship in upper-secondary VET; it then tasked the Institute of Republic of Slovenia for VET (CPI) with preparation of an appropriate plan. The plan was harmonised with the Council for Quality and Evaluation and adopted by the Council of Experts for VET. The pilot will last for three school years, 2017/20. Along the apprenticeship path, a school-based path of the same VET programmes will be also implemented. The major difference between the two paths is the duration of the practical training in a company: the school-based path is 24 weeks, while the apprenticeship path is at least 55 weeks (at least 50% and no more than 60% of the entire education programme). The purpose of the pilot is to verify and evaluate the suitability of individual solutions in the act and guidelines. Implementation of the proposed innovations and solutions will be monitored and evaluated, and practical solutions will help to adopt the systemic measures.
The education programmes for the pilot were proposed by the Ministry of Economic Development and Technology in cooperation with the social partners. The Ministry of Education, taking into account the geographic distribution of schools, enrolment data, school initiatives, availability of employers and the CPI’s opinion, selected the pilot schools. In 2017/18 seven schools and four education programmes (stonemason, gastronomic and hotel services, joiner and metal shaper – toolmaker) were selected for the pilot. In the following years, new programmes and schools will be added to the list.
The development and piloting of apprenticeship will be carried out through the ESIF project Reform of vocational upper secondary education under the CPI. The project includes the following activities that will support the pilot introduction of the apprenticeship:
- development of apprenticeship path in VET;
- development of catalogues for work-based learning (WBL) where goals of WBL will be defined;
- development of recommendations for the preparation of implementation curricula;
- development of a new concept of assessment including the during the final examination;
- development of training programmes for in-company mentors;
- training of education providers in schools and enterprises;
- developing handbooks and other supporting tools for providers in schools and enterprises;
- piloting the apprenticeship path: supporting and monitoring schools;
- developing a model for support and advice to enterprises for the implementation of WBL;
- preparation of materials for counselling in VET with emphasis on WBL;
- register of training places;
- monitoring the apprenticeship path.
The pilot implementation will be led by a project team comprising representatives of the following bodies and institutions: Council of Experts for VET (chair), CPI, Ministry of Education, Ministry of Economy, Ministry of Labour, Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Chamber of Craft and Small Business and a representative of the schools involved in the pilot. The project team will coordinate and direct the implementation and monitoring of the pilot.