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Unified Model of Education

Jedinstven model obrazovanja
Croatia

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Reference Year 2019

Target group

Q6. Does the legal basis define the minimum and maximum age limits for enrolment of the target group of this scheme?

Minimum and maximum age limits defined
Minimum age limits defined only
Other

Minimum and maximum age are not defined for apprenticeship but in relation to the enrolment in upper secondary education. As defined in the Ordinance on Elements and Criteria for Selection of Candidates for Enrolment in the First Grade of Secondary Schools. Official Gazette 49/15, 109/16 and 47/17, to enrol in the UME students need to finish elementary school – which means that the minimum age would be 14.5 (although this number is not defined. The maximum age as defined in the Ordinance is18 years old. These age limits apply to the school-based pathway as well as to apprenticeship, since this is a complementary pathway to school-based education at upper secondary level.

Adults can also enrol in UME programmes, but in separate programmes in adult education.

Q7. What is the average age of learners in practice?

Between 15 and 18
Between 18 and 24
Above 24

There are no publicly available records of the age of students involved in apprenticeships. However, most students enrol in high school at the age of 15. All UME programs last 3 years, so the majority of students involved in apprenticeships are in the 15 -18 bracket.

Overview of the scheme

Q8. Is the scheme included in the ISCED 2011 mapping?

Yes
No

ISCED 3, programme code 303.

Q9. Is there any organization at the national level with roles in co-ordinating the scheme?

Yes
No

Coordination is divided between the ministry in charge of education, the ministry in charge of economy, the Croatian Chamber of Trades and Crafts and the Agency for Vocational Education and Training.

The Ministry of Science and Education is primarily responsible for co-ordination of education that is provided in schools.

Ministry of Economy, Entrepreneurship and Crafts in charge of managing the database of contracts and places for apprenticeships. https://enaukovanje.portor.hr/login.htm

The Croatian Chamber of Trades and Crafts is in charge of issuing licenses to crafts and companies to take on apprentices, conducting exams for in-company mentors for apprenticeships, conducting apprenticeship exams and proposing apprenticeship curriculum in cooperation with the ministry responsible for crafts.

Both Croatian Chamber of Trades and Crafts and Croatian Chamber of Economy conduct education of in-company mentors.

The Agency for Vocational Education and Training is responsible for the procedure for external evaluation of the apprenticeship exams.

Supervision of the implementation of apprenticeship at the employers is carried out by a committee composed of representatives of the ministry responsible for crafts, vocational education institutions, agency responsible for vocational education, Croatian Chamber of Trades and Crafts and Croatian Chamber of Economy.

Q10. When was the scheme introduced?

Long history (before 2000)
Recently introduced (between 2000-2012)
New pathway (after 2012)

The apprenticeship scheme of the Unified Model of Education was implemented from the school year 2004/2005. However, prior to that, there were programmes in the dual system of education which were implemented since the school year 1995/1996Significant changes happened in 1994 with the adoption of the first Act on Crafts, which was the basis and prerequisite for the development of educational legislation, curricula and practical introduction of the dual system of education. After drafting the legislation and curricula, an experimental practice of the dual system of education started. The results were encouraging, but they also showed that there is a lot of work to get the system operating in its full capacity.
Alongside with the experimental system, the 'classical model' (school-based) was practiced in most of the VET schools. In early 2003, a unified model of education (JMO) was developed, which was implemented in accordance with the Act on Crafts and also contained, although to a lesser extent, characteristics of dual education. New education programmes for craft occupation were introduced.

Q11. 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
Ex-novo
Other

Although Croatia has a long-lasting tradition of craftsmanship, the apprenticeship scheme was formally introduced with the Crafts Act in 1994, when the “dual education” was first introduced. The existing apprenticeship is both a continuation of this model and the result of an effort to increase the hours of practical training.

Q12. What are the sources of financing of the direct costs for the in-company training part of the apprenticeship scheme?

Single employers hosting apprentices
Sectoral funds
State
Other

Employers pay allowance to apprentices, which covers their time of in-company training. Employers can receive refund for the allowance paid to apprentices, through the ESF project implemented by the ministry in charge of economy. Scholarships for students enrolled in UME programmes are provided through the ESF project/open public call published by ministry responsible for crafts.

Q13. Are there any financial incentives for companies that offer apprenticeship places?

Yes, subsidies
Yes, tax deductions
Yes, other incentives
No financial incentives

The Act on State Aid for Education and Training (Official Gazette 109/07, 134/07, 152/08, 14/2014) provides tax breaks for companies employing apprentices. This allows reducing of the basis for the calculation of income-tax or self-employment tax.

In the recent years, the ministry in charge of crafts publishes the open public call for grant for two projects via European Social Fund:

1) “Apprenticeships for Crafts Occupations” (Naukovanje za obrtnička zanimanja) is aimed at micro, small and medium enterprises: the financial incentive can be used as compensation for the allowance given to apprentices and as a fee to the mentors.

2) “Lifelong education for crafts” (Cjeloživotno obrazovanje za poduzetništvo) provides incentives to compensate the costs for acquiring licenses to take on apprentices.

Q14. How many learners are enrolled in this scheme?

In school year 2019/2020: 10,683 students

In school year 2018/2019: 9,795 students

In school year 2017/2018: 9,914 students

In school year 2016/2017: 10,983 students

Source: Ministry of Science and Education’s public database: https://app.powerbi.com/view?r=eyJrIjoiZWE3YTE4OWQtOWJmNC00OTJmLWE2MjktYTQ5MWJlNDNlZDQ0IiwidCI6IjJjMTFjYmNjLWI3NjEtNDVkYi1hOWY1LTRhYzc3ZTk0ZTFkNCIsImMiOjh9

Q16. Which is the type of qualification obtained through the apprenticeship scheme?

Formal VET qualification (which does not indicate the pathway)
Formal VET qualification (which indicates the pathway)
Formal apprenticeship qualification (journeyman, etc.)
Others

After completing an apprenticeship in UME scheme, the student needs to pass the final exam. An integral part of the final exam is the apprenticeship exam which involves the performance of a work task within a more complex examination that tests practical skills and the level of independence and responsibility for carrying out the tasks of a particular craft in accordance with qualification standard. The Croatian Chamber of Trades and Crafts issues a supplement to the certificate of apprenticeship proving the successful apprenticeship examination, acquired key and professional competences and work experience.

Q17. Is the qualification included in the National Qualification Framework (NQF)?

Yes
No
There is no NQF

Level 4.1 (EQF level 4: three-year vocational education. A total workload for acquiring a qualification is a minimum of 180 ECVET and/or HROO credits, with at least 120 ECVET and/or HROO credits of the Level 4 or a higher level of units of learning outcomes, respectively.

Source: Act on Croatian Qualification Framework (National Gazette 22/13, 41/16, 64/18)

Q19. Does the scheme provide direct access to higher education?

Yes
No

After the final exams, upon successful completion of apprenticeships, the apprentice can enroll in some of the higher education programs if he/she meets the additional requirements. The condition to enrol in HE is to pass State Matura exam. All qualifications gained through apprenticeship programs are on level 4.1. of CROQF (three-year education). To take State Matura exam, condition is to have qualification at level 4.2., which means they need to continue education in school-based model and gain 4.2. qualification in similar occupation/similar economic sector. If there is no programme for similar occupation, they can enrol in school-based programme for other occupation and take additional and supplementary exams of the first, second and third year of a particular qualification and then enter the fourth grade. Students can complete equivalent of a four-year programme during a period of two years. Upon successful completion students can take State Matura Exams that enable enrolment to higher education institutions.

So, although there is a possibility for apprentices to access higher education, it is harder for them as they need to acquire additional qualification.

 

Alternatively, after completing apprenticeship and after two years of work experience in the profession, it is possible for the person to take the master craftsman exam (EQF and CROQF level 5).

* So students who finished apprenticeship need to acquire 4.2. qualification.

Programme

Duration

Q21. If the scheme is implemented via specific apprenticeship programme, what is its duration?

 

Q22. If the scheme is not implemented via specific apprenticeship programme, how is duration of apprenticeships defined in the regulation?

It Is defined as minimum and maximum share of a VET programme
Is defined as minimum share of a VET programme
Is defined as maximum share of a VET programme
Is not defined by regulation
Other

The curriculum for UME programme defines the number of hours per school year that the apprentice has to spend in training (either at school workshop or at the employers) – and out of that, the minimum number of hours that a student has to spend at the employer’s premises – where they do training/work for which they are paid.

First year:

  1. 315 hours general education;
  2. 244-281 hours professional-theoretical part with elective classes;
  3. 900 hours practical part with technological exercises (from which at least 560 hours must be realised at the workplace.

 Second year:

  1. 315 hours general education;
  2. 244-280 hours professional-theoretical part with elective classes;
  3. 900 hours practical part with technological exercises (from which at least 630 hours must be realised at the workplace).

Third year:

  1. 224 hours general education;
  2. 244-288 hours professional-theoretical part with elective classes;
  3. 800 hours practical part with technological exercises (from which at least 640 hours must be realised at the workplace).

Q23. Is there a distinction between the training time and working time for the period spent at workplace, as per regulation?

Yes, the legal framework makes this distinction
No, the legal framework makes no distinction
 

Alternation of work-based (in-company) training and school-based training

Q24. Is it compulsory to alternate training between two learning venues (school and company)?

Yes
No

Students who decide to enroll in a particular vocational education and training programme for crafts must complete primary education and also have to find a place for apprenticeship in a licensed enterprise where they will acquire competences for their future profession. Without a place for apprenticeship, students cannot enroll/continue with apprenticeship and they have to transfer to school-based programme or do the practical part of the curriculum in the school workshop instead of at employers. Information on licensed enterprises involved in the implementation of apprenticeships can be found of the website of the Ministry of Entrepreneurship and Crafts “eNaukovanje” (https://enaukovanje.portor.hr/login.htm) or on the websites of chambers: Croatian Chamber of Trades and Crafts and Croatian Chamber of Economy.

Q25. Is the in-company training defined as minimum share of the apprenticeship scheme duration?

Yes, equivalent or more than 50% of scheme duration
Yes, between 20% and 50% of the scheme duration
Yes, less than 20% of the scheme duration
No, no minimum share is compulsory

First year: 560 hours / 1459 hours in total = 40%.

Second year: 630 hours / 1459 hours in total = 43%.

Third year: 640 hours / 1268 hours in total = 50%.

Q26. What is the form of alternation of training between workplace (company) and school?

Every week includes both venues
One or more weeks (less than 1 month) spent at school followed by one or more weeks at workplace
One or more months (less than 1 year) spent at school followed by one or more months at workplace
A longer period (1-2 years) spent at school followed by a longer period spent training at workplace
Various – depends on agreements between the school and the company
Other
Not specified

In general the model is: one week at school (theoretical part) – one week at the workplace.

This model can vary since it is not prescribed by legal documents. The main goal is to reach the total number of practical training hours. 

Formal relationship with the employer

Q27. Is any contractual arrangement between the learner and company, required as per regulation?

Yes
No

The apprenticeship contract in writing is concluded between the employer and the student or his parents or guardian if the student is not of legal age and it is not a contract of employment. The ministry responsible for crafts regulates the contents of the contract. The Contract governs the mutual rights, obligations and responsibilities between the employer and the student throughout the duration of the apprenticeship and in particular:

- The start and duration of the practical training and exercises at the workplace

- Student’s working hours at the workplace

- The duration of the student’s vacations (daily and annual)

- Obligations of the employer regarding the curriculum

- Obligations of student in practical training and exercises in craft or legal entity

- Monthly allowance to the student

The contract is regulated by The Ordinance on the minimum conditions for apprenticeship contracts (Official Gazette 63/14).

Q28. What is the nature of the contractual arrangement?

Apprenticeships are a specific type of contract
Apprenticeships are an ordinary employment contract
A formal agreement

The student has the right to receive a monthly allowance which is exempted from additional contributions for pension and healthcare. 

The agreement is not covered by the labour act.

Q29. Where is the contract or the formal agreement registered?

At the school
At the Ministry of employment
At the chambers
At the Ministry of education
Other

The contract is signed in four identical copies, which go to the student (parent or legal guardian), employer, the school and the ministry responsible for crafts. The ministry responsible for crafts maintains a registry of apprenticeship contracts: https://enaukovanje.portor.hr/ugovori/home.htm The ministry’s registry is public, but the contract is equally registered in the school.

Q30. What is the status of the learner?

Apprentice is a specific status
Student
Employee
Other
 

Compensation

Q31. Do apprentices receive a wage or allowance?

Yes, all apprentices receive a wage (taxable income)
Yes, all apprentices receive an allowance (not a form of taxable income)
Apprentices receive a reimbursement of expenses
No form of compensation is foreseen by law

The Act on VET and the Regulation on minimal conditions for apprenticeship contract prescribe the obligation of employers to pay a monthly allowance to the apprentice. Every year, the ministry responsible for crafts issues instructions for the payment of minimal monthly allowance to the apprentices. Calculations are based on percentages of average net salary earned in the previous year in Croatia: 10% in the first year, 20% in the second year and 25% in the third year. The allowance is paid to the apprentice for accomplished training prescribed by the curriculum. Employer can award student with a higher allowance.

Q32. How is the apprentice wage (taxable income) set?

By law (applying for all)
By cross-sectoral collective agreements at national or local level
By sectoral collective agreements at national or local level
By firm-level collective agreements or individual agreements between apprentice and company
Other

The allowance paid to the apprentice is not taxable. Refer to Q27 and Q31.

Q33. Who covers the cost of the wage or allowance of the apprentice?

Employers
State
Other

Employers pay for the student allowance. Refer to Q14 for refund opportunities for employers. 

Q34. Does the wage or allowance of the apprentice cover both the time spent at school and in the company?

Yes
No, it covers only the time spent in the company
 

Responsibility of employers

Q35. Is the company hosting apprentices required by regulation to follow a training plan at the workplace?

Yes, the training plan is agreed at the level of school and company
Yes, the training plan is based on the national/sectoral requirements for the in-company training
No, is not required formally

This is specified in the Apprenticeship contract under obligations of the employer regarding the curriculum. Learning outcomes of the apprenticeship are defined in the curricula and employer needs organise training according to the vocational curriculum. The training plan is usually agreed between school and employer but it is not formally required.

The assessment of apprentices during apprenticeship is carried out /by the in-company mentor through the continuous monitoring of achievements at the workplace.

Q36. What are the requirements on companies to provide placements, as per regulation?

Have to provide a suitable learning environment
Have to provide a mentor / tutor / trainer
Other

For the practical training and exercises, enterprises must have a license to take on apprentices, which is issued by the Croatian Chamber of Trades and Crafts. In order to get the licence, companies must ensure the conditions for apprentices to acquire the knowledge, skills and competencies in the real work process and guarantee the quality of the training at the workplace, in accordance with the curriculum. This also means that a apprentice must have a mentor appointed to him (her) with adequate qualification and pedagogical competences.

 At the moment, the only way to become in-company mentor is by taking Master craftsman’s exam which has a pedagogical part. It is expected that after the new Crafts Act has come into force, a new programme and exam for acquiring pedagogical competences of in-company mentors will also be put into force for persons who are not craftsmen.

Q37. Are there any sanctions on companies that do not provide training to apprentices at the workplace?

Yes
No
 

Q38. What is the role of chambers, employers’ and employees’ representatives, sectoral councils (if existent), in shaping apprenticeship content, as per regulation?

Role in designing qualification
Role in designing curricula
Other
No role

The Croatian Chamber of Trades and Crafts proposes apprenticeship curriculum in cooperation with ministry of responsible for crafts, but the curriculum is issued by the minister responsible for education at the proposal of the agency responsible for vocational education.

Q39. What is the role of chambers, employers’ and employees’ representatives in implementing the apprenticeship scheme, as per regulation?

Role in final assessment of apprentices
Role in accreditation of companies
Role in monitoring of the in-company training
Other
No role

The Croatian Chamber of Trades and Crafts is in charge of issuing licenses to crafts and companies to take on apprentices, conducting exams for in-company mentors for apprenticeships, conducting apprenticeship exams and proposing apprenticeship curriculum in cooperation with ministry of responsible for crafts.

Both Croatian Chamber of Trades and Crafts and Croatian Chamber of Economy conduct in-company mentors’ education.

Supervision of the implementation of apprenticeship at the employers is carried out by a committee composed of representatives of the ministry responsible for crafts, vocational education institutions, agency responsible for vocational education, Croatian Chamber of Trades and Crafts and Croatian Chamber of Economy. In addition, the Croatian Chamber of Trades and Crafts, conducts Master craftsman’s exam (Level 5 of CQF, i.e. postsecondary).