National reports

Apprenticeships in the United Kingdom

Apprenticeships have a long tradition in the United Kingdom and are defined as full-time paid jobs that incorporate on and off the job training. Apprenticeships are currently going through a major reform led by the Government and which sees the employers placed in the driving seat for the development of new apprenticeship standards and the recruitment of the training provider.

This reform is part of a larger plan to improve the quality and quantity of apprenticeships and in particular to support their development at higher levels of training. To find out more about the current reform, support services and the results of the survey on business needs in relation to apprenticeship recruitment and training, you can download the full English report here.


Apprenticeships in Slovenia

The legal framework for apprenticeships in Slovenia sets practical training at the workplace as an integral part of educational programmes at upper secondary level, stating that a part of all VET programmes is carried out in companies. There are four types of Practical Training Programmes at the upper secondary level, the length of which varies according to the type of educational programme.

The work based learning system in Slovenia is currently going through a major reform, developing and piloting a new apprenticeship model as a part of the large ESF project called “Reform of the Upper-secondary Vocational Education 2016-2021”. Four apprenticeship educational programmes are being introduced in school year 2017/2018, adding four more next year. Apprenticeship programmes are aimed to support certain sectors such as rare occupations or professions for which there is little demand. In addition to the apprenticeship model, an individualised school-based model will be developed. The pilot phase will finish in 2021. To find out more about the current situation, please download the full Slovenian report.


Apprenticeships in Austria

In Austria the apprenticeship training is a well-established part of the Austrian system of vocational education in secondary education. Apprenticeship is a combination of two learning places: vocational schools for the theoretical part of vocational education and general education (20%); and companies for the practical training (80%).

Public institutions (ministries, the Austrian Public Employment Service) as well as social partner institutions provide a great variety of support for training companies (both in regards to financial, organisational, legal and educational aspects) in order to keep up the level of apprenticeships offered as well as to raise the quality of training. Nevertheless especially small and medium –sized companies often are reluctant to take part in dual training. This is partially due to a lack of information on the benefits of training apprentices and partially to a lack of direct guidance and counselling. To find out more, download the Austrian national report here.


Apprenticeships in France

In France, an Apprenticeship is a scheme based on:

  • The activity of the apprentice working in an organisation (company…);
  • Following a curriculum that necessarily leads to getting a diploma in a specific training centre i.e. a CFA (possibly including another training centre that has received an accreditation by the CFA);
  • A specific contract: the apprenticeship contract.

The current Government is committed to a genuine transformation of the apprenticeship framework. The aim is to bring this sector to the same level of excellence as it can be in Europe. The Minister of Labour, Muriel Pénicaud, launched, on November 10,2017, a preliminary consultation. All issues will be put on the table for consultation with all stakeholders. A final report is due in February 2018. Access the French report here.


Apprenticeships in Germany

In Germany there were more than 500.000 apprenticeship contracts and 431.121 training companies in 2015. On the one hand statistics show 544.188 supplied training places, on the other 40.960 unfilled training places. 20.700 persons were interested but not getting an apprenticeship.

The SERFA project launched its own study to investigate the demands in companies regarding apprenticeship matters. The target group of the survey in Germany were small and medium sized companies across different industries. The survey targeted both companies that are/were currently or recently providing apprenticeships and companies that have never provided apprenticeships. In total, K.o.s GmbH asked 56 German businesses about their reasons for and against providing in-company training. The data is presented in the German report.


Apprenticeships in Spain

In Spain, dual training started in 2012 and is a key focus of national policies to promote youth employment in response to the economic crisis. Today, apprenticeship is part of two main policies: education and employment. In the framework of employment, contracts for training and apprenticeships enable young people up to the age of 25 (or 30 in the context of a high youth unemployment rate) to be trained in a company and in training centres, in order to receive a professional certificate. The final objective of this measure is to facilitate the subsequent recruitment of young people in companies. Download the Spanish report here.


Apprenticeships in Greece

In Greece the business survey revealed the main challenges that companies face during the apprenticeship procedure. Those include:

  • The basic school competences of the applicants are insufficient
  • The practical understanding or basic practical skills of the applicants are insufficient
  • There are no/ too few applicants
  • The personal / social competences of the applicants are insufficient
  • The lack of knowledge on how to choose the right applicants
  • The lack of resources and time-consuming dimension of apprenticeship schemes
  • The lack of knowledge on how to share the application process and approach the applicants

A number of support services have been identified as needed by businesses and are detailed in the Greek national report.


Apprenticeships in Poland

The research report in Poland provides interesting insights into the apprenticeship system: definition, governance, its distinctive features, financial implications, as well as support services for companies to increase employer engagement in apprenticeship programmes. It also presents the results of the survey conducted on a sample of SMEs on their experiences, needs and challenges in apprenticeships. You can download the Polish national report here.

The European Commission support for the production of this publication does not constitute an endorsement of the contents which reflects the views only of the authors, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.