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Closer cooperation between schools and working life

One of the Government’s primary aims for the VET Promotion is to achieve closer cooperation between working life and upper secondary education – to provide the workforce with the skills it needs and enable young people to develop their abilities through vocational education and training.

Credit: WorldSkills Norway

There is a gap between needs of the labour market and the educational choices made by young people. Upper secondary education programmes largely reflect the wishes of the pupils rather than any needs for expertise on the labour market. Thus, too many young people are ending up with qualifications that are in low demand, or are starting programmes with too few apprenticeships available. 

The Government has therefore asked the Norwegian Directorate for Education and Training to review and recommend changes to the vocational training choices currently available to young people. These efforts will be carried out in cooperation with employers’ and employees’ organisations. The review is designed to ensure that trade certificates are better adapted to the needs of enterprises – today and into the future.

Earlier introduction to working life

The Government wants vocational education and training to be more relevant and flexible than is the case at present. Pupils should be introduced to working life and their chosen occupations earlier and more extensively than in the current main model. This may be done by alternating theory and practice or by carrying out more of the educational activity in enterprises.

The alternating model is a four-year vocational training programme which culminates in a trade or journeyman's certificate. This model provides the same skills as an ordinary vocational training programme but the education is organised differently. The alternating model differs from the regular programme, in which two years of upper secondary schooling are followed by two years in apprenticeship, in that the pupil alternates more frequently between practice at a training establishment and school-based education. The model may be designed to start in either the first or second year of upper secondary education. This programme requires close cooperation between schools, enterprises and the business sector.

In-depth study project

Certificates of practice in all counties

Certificates of practice have recently been introduced as part of a pilot project. This two-year, practical programme combines career-oriented Norwegian, maths and social science with lots of time spent at an enterprise. The pupils follow the same curricula as apprentices but have fewer targets.

Results have been positive and show that giving pupils an alternative start to their upper secondary education increases their chances of completing it. Most have moved on to a standard apprenticeship while taking or after completing their certificate of practice. The certificates of practice scheme will be extended to all Norwegian counties through 2017. All counties are encouraged to participate.

Certificates of practice

 Making common core subjects more relevant

All pupils will continue to take the common core subjects Norwegian, English, maths, science, social science and physical education, but it will be made clearer to pupils how the subjects are relevant to their chosen career paths.

The FYR project is examining ways to achieve more career relevance within the core and vocational subjects, as a measure under the Ministry of Education and Research’s Programme for Enhanced Completion of Upper Secondary Education and Training. The objective is to enhance the career relevance of the common core subjects in vocational training programmes, including training of teachers of the core and vocational subjects. The FYR project is developing teaching plans that make the common core subjects more relevant.

Programme for Enhanced Completion of Upper Secondary Education and Training

The FYR project

Practical working life subject

This subject is designed to provide pupils with greater opportunity to work with practical tasks and explore their interests in vocational training. The subject will become a permanent offer from the 2015/2016 schoolyear and will enable schools to provide pupils with a more practical programme as an alternative to a foreign language, in-depth English, Norwegian or Sámi language. It is offered by schools as an elective course. The curriculum and teaching plan are to be updated.

Practical working life subject