Apprenticeship System


The Grand-Duchy of Luxembourg is a constitutional monarchy functioning as a parliamentary democracy with no division into federal or regional competences. Only one central administration exists. The Ministry of Education, Children and Youth (Ministère de l'Éducation nationale, de l’Enfance et de la Jeunesse, MENJE) is responsible for VET and all other types of education and child care except higher education. In cooperation with the Ministry of Labour, Employment and the Social and Solidarity Economy (Ministère du Travail, de l’Emploi et de l’Économie Sociale et Solidaire, MTE), it is also responsible for training measures for the unemployed.

Higher education lies in the responsibility of the Ministry of Higher Education and Research (Ministère de l'Enseignement Supérieur et de la Recherche, MESR).


History of the apprenticeship system

The apprenticeship system has been regulated for the first time in 1929, with constant evolution in 1945, 1979 and 1990. The VET system in Luxembourg is inspired from the German dual system and is organised similarly. In 2008 a new law reforming the whole VET system has been adopted by the Parliament. This law brought changes in the description of the VET programmes (learning outcomes), the structure of the courses (units and modules instead of subjects) and also in the assessment of the learnings (competence based assessment).


The image of VET and apprenticeship in society

After having accomplished the primary education at the age of 12, children are oriented, depending on their results and capacities, towards general secondary education or into technical secondary education. Vocational education and training is included and provided by the technical secondary schools. The VET and more specifically the apprenticeship system is mostly seen by the society as a social and educational setback of the student. VET programmes are seen as second choice pathways for learners that do not have access to other learning pathways. General secondary studies which lead to an access to academic studies are generally considered to be the more prestigious choice. This is partly a consequence of the structure of the labour market where the biggest demand is for highly qualified profiles with academic degrees (tertiary economy).


Overall apprenticeship policy

The MENJE and the professional chambers develop together the standards for VET. Thus, there is a direct link to the actual needs of the labour market, through the development of curricula based on labour market standards and the qualifications needed by Luxembourgish companies. The partnership with the social partners, which is stipulated by the VET law, results in the development of high quality VET programmes.

The Luxembourgish VET system has three main features aiming at reducing failures and drop-outs from VET:

  • teaching by units and modules replaces teaching by subjects. Each module is focused on concrete professional situations;
  • for each module, the competences (learning outcomes) to be acquired are defined;
  • assessment and certification in apprenticeship are based on the learning outcomes. The acquisition  of the competences is assessed and documented for each module.


Apprentices, Companies and VET schools involved in apprenticeship

In the Grand-Duchy of Luxembourg around 3000 companies of all sizes have the right to train apprentices. Out of 42 secondary schools (37 public, 5 private) in Luxembourg, 23 are technical secondary schools which offer 118 crafts and professions with an additional 34 as trans-border programmes. Out of 20.998 students aged 15 or more, registered in upper secondary education, a total of 7.399 students follow training in the VET. This represents 35.2% (2014/2015)[1].