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Upper secondary vocational schools

The upper secondary VET in Norway covers 10 education programmes that lead to more than 180 different trade or journeyman’s certificates. The most of upper secondary VET programmes follow the main 2+2 model. The model entails two years of education in an upper secondary school and then followed by two years of apprenticeship training and productive work in a training enterprise or public institution. The final exam is a trade or journeyman’s test leading to an EQF level 4 qualification. In this context, the upper secondary schools are responsible for the first two years of education and training, while the hosting enterprises are responsible for the final two years.

During the two-school year, the VET pupil is given a general introduction to the vocational field and an opportunity to specialise in a chosen craft or trade. The teaching focuses mostly on common subjects (Norwegian, English, mathematic, physics, natural sciences, and social sciences), and common programme subjects which cover trade-specific theory and practice. During the first year (vg1-upper secondary level 1) these subjects offer a general introduction to the vocational field. During the second year (vg2-upper secondary level 2) the subjects become more specific as the VET pupils decide which trade, they want to pursue. Hence, the apprenticeship period gives the apprentice an opportunity to gain in-depth knowledge in a vocational field and prepare for the trade or journeyman’s test. The two-year apprenticeship is formalised through the signed contract between the apprentice and the training enterprise. Though the county authorities have an overarching responsibility for all aspects of public upper secondary education and training, including apprenticeship training within the VET sector. Therefore, the apprenticeship contract must be approved by the county authorities.

Social partner representatives from business, industry and the public sector hold most of the seats in all advisory bodies in the decision-making system for upper secondary VET. Close dialogue with the social partners is therefore important in anticipating skills needs and in securing relevant provision of VET. Thus, tripartite cooperation is important in both designing the VET provisions and in assuring relevance and quality in accordance with the labour market needs. The social partners have been actively involved in the development of a new structure of available courses and apprenticeships which is in force from the school year 2020–2021 and in the development of renewed VET curricula for all trades and crafts in accordance with labour market needs. The new VET curricula are as well implemented as of the school year 2020–2021.

Authors of the Report

The project Competences for the Future – Matching the Needs of the Labour Market benefits from a € 106 000 grant from Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway through the EEA Grants. The aim of the project is to update the education offer through the exchange of opinions and good practices between organizations with experience in the field of vocational education of youth and adults.