3.5 Traineeships and apprenticeships
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Vocational education and traineeships
The general framework for vocational education is the Law on Vocational Education (OG30/09, 24/10, 22/13, 25/18), and the main mechanism for vocational training is vocational education for bound craft programmes, which consists of an expert-theoretical part and practical teaching and exercises. Education lasts for three years, with practical work in at least one part of the programme, and is compulsory for all participants as prescribed by the Crafts Act (OG 143/13).
The Apprenticeship Contract is concluded by the craftsman and the student and/or their parent or guardian. The contract governs mutual rights, obligations and responsibilities between craftsmen and students during the course of apprenticeship programmes: the beginning and duration of apprenticeship, the student’s working time at the workshop or at the work site, the duration and schedule of the student’s leave, the material allowance for the duration of the apprenticeship and the obligations of craftsmen regarding the implementation of curriculum.
As a rule, the programme participants receive a cash award for the workshop that is paid each month in accordance with the provisions of the Apprenticeship Contract, which is an integral part of the By-law on the Minimum Requirements for Apprenticeship Contract (OG 63/14) and By-law on Amendments to the By-law on the Minimum Requirements for Apprenticeship Contract (OG 80/2018).
The main social partner in the implementation of the apprenticeship programme is the Croatian Chamber of Trades and Crafts, and in some programmes the Croatian Employers' Association is also included. In the regular education system at secondary school level, the Croatian Chamber of Trades and Crafts conducts licensing of crafts and legal entities for the implementation of practical teaching and training.
The unemployed and traineeships
Apart from attending regular vocational education, the main beneficiaries of the vocational training programme are unemployed persons, who undergo a re-qualification programme within the Croatian Employment Service. The Croatian Employment Service also conducts Subsidies for employment with the aim of encouraging further education of newly employed or employed persons and the aim of preserving jobs, introducing new technologies and production programmes, and raising competitiveness. This institution also makes available on-the-job training, aiming to enable unemployed persons to acquire the knowledge and skills required to perform jobs in the same workplace.
The above-mentioned models of engagement in vocational training are not linked to the implementation of the Youth Guarantee (YG) in Croatia, but its implementation has expanded a package of measures aimed at introducing young people to work. Croatia began the implementation of the Youth Guarantee in 2013 by upgrading the then packet of measures called Young and Creative. New Plan for the Youth Guarantee Implementation 2019-2020 was adopted in April 2019. The main support measure refers to the subsidies for employment for the purpose of acquiring first professional experience in industry or in the public sector. This measure may be used by unemployed persons up to 24 and CES subsidizes 50-100% of a young person’s salary.
The apprenticeship programme is being promoted online and in media before the end of the academic year, and through individual sessions with students during professional counselling.
With regards to the involvement of youth organizations in designing and evaluating the YG, the Croatian Youth Network is an active member of the Council for the Youth Guarantee Implementation Plan, but the Council's decisions are not binding and they are not brought for all YG implementation components.
Qualifications acquired through education are recognized at the level of formal education through the ECVET system, while vocational training is evaluated only through the acquired work experience.
For the Youth Guarantee measures in the period 2014-2020 Croatia had access to 132,54 million EUR from the EU Structural Funds: 66,36 million EUR from the European Social Fund and 66,18 million EUR from the Youth Employment Initiative. With national co-funding this amounts to almost 150 million EUR.
Quality assurance of traineeships
Vocational education and training (VET) institutions are required to carry out self-evaluation in cooperation with the Agency for vocational education and training and adult education, and external evaluation in cooperation with the National Centre for External Evaluation of Education. The quality assurance system links and harmonizes the self-evaluation and external evaluation of educational institutions, whereas external evaluation uses self-evaluation and the development plans of the institution as the starting point for evaluation.
Quality assurance of programmes under Youth Guarantee
In the year 2016, the evaluation of participant, mentor and employer experiences of the occupational training without commencing employment coordinated by the Croatian Employment Service, and conducted by the Ipsos Puls Agency, with the help of experts from the Institute of Public Finance, was undertaken. Three questionnaires were administered in the survey: for young people (N = 537), employers (N = 458) and mentors (N = 375). The objectives of the study were:
- to determine the quality of the content of the vocational training
- to examine familiarity with the objectives of vocational training
- to evaluate the quality of the implementation of the vocational training programme
- to examine experiences related to the adoption of programmes (knowledge transfer, adoption of professional competencies)
- to determine familiarity/knowledge of the contents and objectives of the vocational training programme by the user
- to evaluate the satisfaction with the aspects of defining and implementing the vocational training programme
- to examine the expectations of participation in the measure in the area of competence acquisition
- to examine the circumstances of entry/decision on entry into the measure
- to determine the expected objectives of applying vocational training programmes in the context of occupation/profession
- to identify the factors of favourable outcomes
- to examine the attitudes of competences achieved after exiting the measure and assess the fulfilment of the expectations of vocational training
Evaluation of the Youth Employment Initiative under the Operational Programme Efficient Human Resources 2014-2020 (OPEHR) (2015) was coordinated by the Ministry of Labour, Pension System, Family and Social Policy (MLPSFSP) and conducted by the ECORYS Croatia.The overall objective of the evaluation was to evaluate the impact of planned activities in the context of the sustainable integration of the NEET1 young people into the labour market. The evaluation indicators are linked to the degree of relevance and justification, consistency and internal coherence, effectiveness, external coherence and effectiveness. The interviews with the users of vocational training have also been conducted as part of the evaluation.
Evaluation of occupational training implementation was conducted by the Croatian Youth Network 2016. This evaluation, along with the numerical indicators of implementation and characteristics of the beneficiaries included the assessment of the effect on employment (12 months employment after expiry of the measure) and the structural and financial aspects of the YG implementation.