Article | Last updated: 19/02/2016 | Ministry of Education and Research
Vocational education and training is designed to produce skilled tradespeople. In coming years there will be a great need for workers with this kind of training in both the private and the public sectors.
The Government considers it essential to take steps to raise the status of vocational subjects and reduce the unacceptably high dropout rates. More apprenticeships are needed as well as more and better-targeted educational pathways. In light of this, the Government has launched the VET Promotion initiative with three main goals: closer cooperation between schools and businesses, greater flexibility in vocational education and training, and better and more relevant courses.
Increased grants for training establishments
Each year, 6 000 to 8 000 pupils do not receive the apprenticeship they have sought. This lack of apprenticeships prevents young people from completing their education and creates a shortage of qualified workers in the labour market.
Both private and public-sector institutions must actively use the apprenticeship scheme to play their part fulfilling the need for adequate future recruitment and a qualified workforce.
Thus far the Government has raised the grants for training establishments by NOK 12 500 per contract.
An agreement reached in the Storting will increase the grant by another NOK 2 500 in the budget for 2016.
Strategy for more apprenticeships in the government administration
As part of the initiative to provide more opportunities for young people to earn their trade or journeyman's certificate, the Government has drawn up a strategy to increase the number of apprentices in the government administration. The strategy also includes measures to increase awareness in the public sector about the valuable resource apprentices represent, as well as measures to make it easier to provide apprentices with high-quality training. In addition, efforts will be launched to spread information about the advantages of having apprentices, the need for competence-building, and measures for recruiting instructors.
The new strategy is designed to encourage and make it mandatory for central government agencies to increase the number of apprentices. The requirement will apply for apprenticeship admissions starting in spring 2015.
The strategy for more apprentices in the government administration
Approval scheme for apprenticeship enterprises
One measure introduced by the ministry to increase the number of apprenticeships is a scheme to allow approved apprenticeship enterprises to display a special emblem. The emblem is intended to be a mark of quality and professionalism in the approved establishments. The scheme is to have high legitimacy and be widely publicised among consumers, making it easier to choose suppliers that are approved apprenticeship enterprises.
Apprentice programmes required in public contracts
The Government will require companies to have an apprenticeship programme to be eligible to win contracts for major public procurements. The apprenticeship programme requirement will apply to Norwegian as well as international companies, but will only encompass commissions in which the participation of apprentices will be relevant for implementation.
This requirement is currently being circulated for review, and according to current plans will be introduced in April 2016.
Requirement to introduce more apprentices at universities and university colleges
The state has not traditionally played a leading role in promoting apprenticeships. The Minister of Education and Research wishes to change this, and is now asking universities and university colleges to increase their numbers of apprentices by 50 per cent by the end of 2016.
The Government is also providing NOK 5 million in funding to support a project conducted by WorldSkills Norway to increase the use of competitive incentives in vocational subjects.
Apprenticeship promotion initiative
The apprenticeship promotion initiative is designed to help enterprises seeking to become training establishments and make new companies aware of the advantages of having apprenticeship programmes. The initiative’s website provides information about, among other things, how to become an approved training establishment. The apprenticeship promotion initiative has been developed in cooperation between the education authorities and employers’ and employees’ organisations. Under the Social Contract for VET, these parties all agreed to work to achieve the objective of 20 per cent more apprenticeship contracts over the four-year period ending in 2015. The education authorities together with the organisations have now launched an effort to continue their cooperation on apprenticeships.