Apprenticeship System

The Danish apprenticeship system has deep historic roots in the institutional structures characterizing the Danish labour market. Vocational Education and Training is under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Children and Education. The VET system is characterized by tri-partite governance, which is central to ensuring the relevance and quality of the VET provision in a dynamic economy such as the Danish. The main Act underlines that the VET system is a youth education system.

The Act stipulates that VET education should support the personal development of students, that it should offer opportunities for students to acquire general skills. It furthermore underlines that the provision of VET education must open up opportunities for students to learn and work abroad and to continue in education after the completion of a VET qualification. However, also for adults, upper secondary VET may be an attractive pathway. In the Danish VET system adults over 25 may have their prior learning recognized as the basis for an accelerated pathway to qualification as a skilled worker.

The Danish VET system is characterized by a high level of stakeholder cooperation at the national sectoral and local level. Social partners, vocational colleges, teachers and students are all involved in developing VET, based on the principles of consensus and a shared responsibility. At the national level, the social partners advise the Ministry of Children and Education on overall VET policy topics as well as determining the structure and general framework for vocational education. For each of the trades there is a national trade committee that feed into the national council for VET. At a local level, the VET colleges and the Local Training Committees cooperate in adapting curricula to respond to local labour market needs.

Since 2000, there have been three major VET reforms. In the context of a projected shortage of skilled workers in 2020 the most recent reform, which was implemented in 2015, was to enable that more youth choose a vocational pathway directly after completion of compulsory education.

As in many other countries there has been a trend that an increasing number of youth choose to continue in general upper secondary education even if they may not have plans to continue in tertiary education. Data from  2018 show that out of the cohort that completed compulsory education in the summer of 2018, 73,1 % of the students have chosen to continue in general upper secondary education as their priority number 1. 19,4 pct. of the students have chosen VET as a number 1 priority - out of these 30 % have opted for a dual qualification leading to a VET qualification as well as a general upper secondary. 1,2 % have chosen a specially organized youth pathway (EGU, STU, or combined youth programme). 6% have either chosen not to continue directly in an upper secondary programme after completion of compulsory education, or they have chosen a production school or a folk high school. 46,7 % of form 9 students have opted for another year in compulsory education having the 10th form as their 1st priority.

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