The Danish VET system is part of the overall youth education system. It aims to prepare the student for a particular occupation through the acquisition of vocational and general competences. In addition, VET should lay the foundation for participation in lifelong learning, for active participation in society as a citizen, and for starting one’s own enterprise.

VET, including the apprenticeship, leads to a national, formally recognized qualification and is included in the National and European Qualification Framework at levels 3, 4 and 5. The overall structure of the apprenticeship system is divided into the basic program and the main program.

The basic program

The basic programs are uniform in structure and duration in four main areas: 1. care, health and pedagogy; 2. office, trade and business service; 3. food agriculture and experience; and 4. technology, construction and transportation. The programs consist of two components, each lasting twenty weeks. The first part (GF1 – Grundforløb 1) is only provided for youngsters who access VET directly after compulsory education or at the latest in December the same year due to its preparatory character and the need to support a more qualified selection of a profession to learn. Each main area corresponds to a number of programs and occupations. The purpose of GF1 in the basic program is that students should acquire broad vocational and general skills enabling them to combine practice and theory within the broad occupational field. This makes students more qualified to make a choice with regard to their future occupations. The purpose of GF2 in the basic program is to prepare students for the main program and give the students the prerequisites for completing the main course. GF2 will be finalized with an examination.

The objectives of the basic program (GF1) are the same, regardless of the choice of direction. The basic program Part 2 (GF2) is tailored to the selected main program. It provides students with vocational, general and personal skills to ensure that they can complete the main program. GF2 is compulsory (unless the student is 25 years or older and complies with specific conditions).

The main program

There are around 100 different main programs in VET, some of which are offered at different levels corresponding to occupations in the labour market. The duration of the main programs is typically 3 – 3.5 years, but it can be shorter or longer for certain programs (from 1.5 years to 5 years). The main programs vary from EQF level 3 - 5. In order to complete a main program, the student must have an apprenticeship contract with an approved apprentice company offering training. In general, up to 75% of the main program takes place in the company alternating with school periods, which in the main program typically last from five to ten weeks.

If the student does not manage to find an apprenticeship in a company, a number of VET programs offer practice placements at the college in the adjacent Centers of Placement. The majority of students, even when they start in a Center of Placement, will finalize their education as an apprentice in a company.