The social partners play a key role in the management and development of the VET system in Denmark. They are involved in overall governance at the national level in the Advisory Council on the Vocational Education and Training and are organized into trade committees, which play a key role in defining the learning objectives in the VET programs. They are also responsible for the on-going updating of VET qualifications and the development of new, nationally organized qualifications. The trade committees also approve the companies that wish to offer apprenticeship training.
Social partners are involved in VET at the local, sectoral and national levels. Their involvement at all system levels is intended to ensure that the training content of a particular program matches the requirements of the labour market for skilled labour. They play a key role in defining the learning objectives of the VET programs as the basis for the provision of training by VET providers and companies.
The Advisory Council on the Vocational Education and Training (REU)
The council includes social partners from all major sectors and has the responsibility for advising the Ministry of Children and Education on all principal policy and quality matters concerning VET. The Advisory Council monitors developments in society and highlights trends in labour markets relevant to VET. The Advisory Council is composed of one chairman and 31 members from the social partners; employers’ and employees’ organization, municipalities, regions and teacher and student associations.
The council makes recommendations to the Ministry of Children and Education regarding the establishment of new VET programs, adaptations, mergers of programs or the discontinuation of other VET programs. The Ministry of Children and Education takes into account the recommendations of the Advisory Council when approving new VET programs or establishing which programs should be able to offer practice placements at the Centres of Placement for those students who do not manage to find a company for their apprenticeship.
The trade committees
The trade committees constitute a very important backbone of the VET system. Around fifty trade committees are responsible for around 100 main programs leading to a total of almost 300 different qualifications, and they formally approve companies for the training of apprentices through the local training committees. The committees are formed by representatives of labour market organizations, with parity of membership between employer and employee organizations. They are responsible for the layout and content of the main programs, including specializations, duration, structure, examination, level of competence for admission etc. They are also responsible for describing the national curricula for the different programs and for initiating revision and change when necessary.
The trade committees also produce an annual report to the Ministry of Children and Education on the development needs within their trades, occupations and sectors in the labour market as part of their responsibility to identify new demands for qualifications.
Local training committees
On the local level, the local training committees ensure close contact between the VET colleges, the local community and the specific local labour market needs. They are advisors to the local VET colleges and co-operate with the colleges on the local curriculum (lokal undervisningsplan). The local curriculum reflects local conditions and ambitions and is the basis for teaching and learning processes at the VET college. On behalf of the trade committees, the local training committee is also responsible for approving companies for apprenticeship training (placements) by ensuring that the companies have the appropriate training environment, including the availability of adequate facilities and qualified trainers.