The Ministry of Education manages the VET system and approves VET providers. The involvement of social partners as competent bodies is stipulated by law at all levels of the system, and the self-governing VET providers are led by governing boards composed of social partner representatives.
The Danish VET system is characterized by a high level of stakeholder involvement, where not only the competent bodies and social partners, but also vocational colleges, teachers and students are involved in the development of VET qualifications based on the principles of consensus and shared responsibility.
The competent bodies in the Danish VET system are as follows:
The Ministry of Education. Parliament sets out the overall legal framework for VET, which is administered by the Ministry of Education. The Ministry has overall parliamentary, financial and legal responsibility for VET, laying down the overall objectives of the programs, and providing the legislative framework within which stakeholders, social partners, VET providers and companies are able to adapt curricula and methodologies to labour market and student needs. The Ministry of Education is responsible for approving new VET qualifications on the basis of recommendations from the Advisory Council for Initial Vocational Education and Training (REU), and for approving the colleges that are to provide the basic and main VET programs. It also lays down the overall rules for VET – in cooperation with the REU – and draws up regulations for individual VET programs in cooperation with the trade committees. The Ministry of Education is also responsible for quality assurance and for ensuring the effective use of resources. The Ministry also defines the institutional framework for VET providers’ educational, economic and legal management, and funds the college-based part of VET, which accredited providers are responsible for.
The Advisory Council on the Initial Vocational Education and Training (Rådet for de Grundlæggende Erhvervsrettede Uddannelser (REU)) is a council in which all the stakeholders in VET are represented. Under the Vocational Training Act, the Advisory Council has the responsibility for advising the Ministry of Education on all principal policy and quality matters concerning VET, including monitoring developments in society and highlighting trends in labour markets that are relevant to VET.
The Trade Committees (Faglige Udvalg) constitute the backbone of the VET system. Around fifty trade committees are responsible for more than 100 main courses. The committees are formed by labour market organizations with parity of membership between employer and employee organizations. They are responsible for the main programs, specializations, duration, structure, examination, levels of competence for entrance to the main programs etc.
The Local Training Committees ensure close contact between the VET providers, the local community and specific local labour market needs. The members typically come from the local labour market and local community.
The VET providers. The VET providers are self-governing institutions led by governing boards that include social partner representation. They have overall responsibility for the administrative and financial management of the institution and for educational activities in accordance with the legal framework defined by the Ministry of Education. They assume everyday responsibilities for teaching and examination.