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3. Employment & Entrepreneurship

3.5 Traineeships and apprenticeships

On this page
  1. Official guidelines on traineeships and apprenticeships
  2. Promoting traineeships and apprenticeships
  3. Recognition of learning outcomes
  4. Funding
  5. Quality assurance

Official guidelines on traineeships and apprenticeships

Apprenticeship and traineeship are primarily organised within the Danish education system in the framework of upper secondary education programmes and higher education programmes. Traineeships are also used in the Danish employment system as an active labour market measure.

At national level, the Danish education system is regulated by the Ministry of Children and Education and the Ministry of Higher Education and Science and implemented at the local level by municipalities and self-governing education institutions.

At national level, the Ministry of Employment is responsible for the traineeships in the employment system. At local level, municipal job centres and municipal youth measures (kommunal ungeindsats) are responsible for the coordination of agreements between enterprises and unemployed persons.

 

Apprenticeships in VET programmes

Apprenticeship is mandatory and a requirement in most VET education programme. Two VET programmes are school based education and without apprenticeship:

  • Wall, ceiling and unit installer (Byggemontagetekniker)
  • WEB Integrator (web-integrator)

The VET programmes are regulated through:

 

The practical training takes place in the main course of the VET programmes. The practical training may take the form of:

  • An apprenticeship at one or more enterprises (uddannelsespraktik)
  • School-based practical training (skolepraktik)

 

Apprenticeships at one or more enterprises

An apprenticeship at an enterprise is the most common form of practical training in VET programmes.

In order to start the apprenticeship, the student must have an apprenticeship agreement with one or more enterprises.

The enterprise(s) and the student formulate an education agreement, which is a contract for the entire main course of the education. The education plan is an official document that must be signed at the beginning of the cooperation. The specific terms regarding learning objectives and tasks, as well as the legal regulations, should be stated in the agreement. The legal regulations include salary and employment conditions: the student is covered by the general regulations of the labour market and the student’s work should have a purely educational purpose.

There are five different ways to structure the education agreement, and the duration of the practical training at the enterprise differ in the five types of agreement. For all agreements, the following rules apply:

  • The student is employed at the enterprise and receives apprentice salary, as a minimum the apprentice salary established in collective agreements.
  • The enterprise(s) must be recognised as apprentice-enterprise by the trade committee of the education.
  • The first three months are a trial period in which the student and the enterprise may cancel the education agreement.

There are specific guidelines regarding the enterprise’s responsibility and role. The enterprise must:

  • Make up and coordinate the apprenticeship in a way in which the practical training in unison with the theoretical education at the school fulfil the specific objectives and targets of the education.
  • Formulate the education plan with the student.

 

School-based practical training

In case the student is unable to find an enterprise to enter into an education agreement with, the student may be entitled to school-based training. More than half of the VET programmes offer school-based training.

The student can enter into an apprenticeship agreement for a part of a main course. In order to be entitled to school-based practical training, the student must:

  • Be enrolled in one of the programmes that offer school-based training
  • Live up to the EMMA criteria, which means that the students must be:
    • Qualified
    • Geographically mobile, which means that the student should accept an apprenticeship agreement in another part of the country if the opportunity occurs.
    • Vocationally mobile, which means that the student should be willing to accept another education programme if the opportunity of an apprenticeship agreement occurs.
    • The student should be proactive in the effort to find an enterprise to enter into an education agreement with

 

Intake adjustment/quotas

For quite some years, it has been a problem to find enough enterprises to meet the demand for apprenticeship agreements. In the tripartite agreement II of 2016, a quota agreement has been settled. In order to be enrolled in certain vocational education programmes, it is now a requirement that students have an apprenticeship agreement with an enterprise in order to begin the main course in the education. For some educations offering school-based practical training, quotas on the number of students in school-based educations have been established.

Furthermore, some education programmes are on an advantage list (fordelsuddannelse) with good employment and apprenticeship opportunities. The criteria for being on the list is that 90% of the students have an education agreement within three months of completion of the basic core course. Enterprises that make education agreements within education in the advantage list receive an extra bonus.

 

The social partners play a significant role in the VET programmes

Each VET programme has its own trade committee composed of the local social partners. The trade committee establishes the overall education programme/curriculum, the learning objectives, and the structure of the education. The trade committee also approves enterprises as being apprentice enterprises.

 

Traineeships at the university colleges (professional bachelor programme)

Traineeships are mandatory for all students in a professional bachelor programme. The minimum period is six months.

Some education programmes have several periods of work practice in the education, for instance:

  • Bachelor in Social Education
  • Bachelor of Education
  • Bachelor in Radiography
  • Bachelor of Midwifery
  • Bachelor in Nursing
  • Bachelor of Occupational Therapy
  • Bachelor of Physiotherapy

The professional bachelor programmes are regulated through:

The Act on Business Academies and University Colleges.  (Bekendtgørelse af lov om erhvervsakademiuddannelser og professionsbacheloruddannelser, LBK nr 790 af 09/08/2019)

The Ministerial Order on Business Academies and University Colleges (Bekendtgørelse om erhvervsakademiuddannelser og professionsuddannelser, BEK nr 841 af 24/06/2018)

 

The traineeship is regulated in the curriculum and the traineeship contracts

According to the act:

  • The education institution must ensure a link between the school-based education and the practical learning during the traineeship.
  • The traineeship must contribute to the overall learning objectives of the education programme.

The curriculum establishes:

  • The learning objectives of the traineeship
  • The number of tests
  • The amount of ECTS points
  • Regulation of the traineeship, including the obligations and expectations of the involved actors (the young person, education institution, and provider)

Traineeship contracts:

The traineeship contracts are not mandatory.

The contract should specify:

  • The obligations of each party involved.
  • Practical details: definition of period, details regarding vacation and salary.
  • The content of the traineeship: Learning objectives.
  • Details regarding guidance and coaching during the traineeship.
  • Learning targets: knowledge, skills, and competences. Individual learning targets can be established in a collaboration between the workplace, the student, and the education institution. If so, they should be integrated in the contract.

The traineeship is completed with an exam in which the acquired competences are assessed.

On the website of the Ministry of Higher Education and Science, several draft forms can be found that can help the education institution, the workplace, and the student in formulating a contract and evaluating the practical training.

 

Traineeships at the business academies (erhvervsakademierne)

Traineeships at the business academies follow the same rules as the professional bachelor programme. The only exception is that the mandatory traineeship period is three months at the business academies.

Traineeships at the business academies are regulated in:

The Act on Business Academies and University Colleges  (Bekendtgørelse af lov om erhvervsakademiuddannelser og professionsbacheloruddannelser, LBK nr 790 af 09/08/2019)

The Ministerial Order on Business Academies and University Colleges (Bekendtgørelse om erhvervsakademiuddannelser og professionsuddannelser, BEK nr 841 af 24/06/2018)

 

Traineeships at the maritime education institutions

In 2019, new regulations on the training periods in maritime professional bachelor education programmes were implemented. As of 2019, students can enter into training agreements with more than one approved shipping company, the involved parties can make a training agreement with either a trainee salary or state educational grant during the training periods, and having a training agreement prior to starting the education is no longer a requirement.

Traineeship/seagoing service is part of the following maritime education programmes:

Bachelor of Maritime Transport and Nautical Science (Skibsfører, BEK nr 636 af 25/06/2019)

  • Mandatory training period (seagoing service) of altogether 15 months on board a merchant vessel. If the training takes place on a ship registered abroad, the traineeship can be unpaid.
  • During the training period, the student is entitled to either a trainee salary or state educational grant, and if there are agreements made with more than one shipping company it can be a salary at one company and an educational grant at another.
  • The education institution and the shipping company must enter into a training agreement.
  • A qualified training officer must guide the student during the training periods.
  • A training record book, which is published by the Danish Maritime Authority, must be completed during the training period. The purpose of the training record book is to manage the practical training during the trainee’s practical training period so that the trainee, the ship’s management, and the training officer are properly informed about meeting the objectives of the practical training period, as well as serving as documentation that the objectives have been met.

Bachelor of Maritime Transport and Ship Management (Skibsofficer, BEK nr 1350 af 23/11/2018)

  • Altogether, one year and three months with either trainee salary or state educational grant, and if there are agreements with more than one shipping company it can be a salary at one company and an educational grant at another.
  • A qualified training officer must guide the student during the training periods, and a training record book, which is published by the Danish Agency for Science and Higher Education, must be completed during the training period.
  • The education institution and the shipping company must enter into a training agreement.

 

Bachelor in Technology Management and Marine Engineering (Maskinmester, BEK nr 1348 af 23/11/2018)

  • A three-month training period prior to the bachelor project is mandatory for all students.
  • Students with a vocational upper secondary education or relevant work experience of minimum two years are entitled to credit for all or part of the enterprise traineeship (virksomhedspraktik) of nine months and the workshop traineeship (værkstedspraktik) of nine months. The two periods of altogether 18 months are mandatory for students with a general upper secondary education.
  • The education institution and the shipping company must enter into a training agreement.
  • In relation to seagoing service, a qualified marine engineer must guide the student during the training period, and a training record book, which is published by the Danish Agency for Science and Higher Education, must be completed during the training period.
  • Students in seagoing service can enter into training agreements with a trainee salary or receive a state educational grant.

 

Ship’s machinist (Skibsmaskinist, BEK nr 1347 af 23/11/2018)

  • Mandatory training period of half a semester with trainee salary. However, if it is not possible to find an approved shipping company that will pay a salary, an agreement can be made where the student receives a state educational grant for the three months.
  • The education institution and the shipping company must enter into a training agreement.
  • A qualified training officer must guide the student during the training periods, and a training record book, which is published by the Danish Agency for Science and Higher Education, must be completed during the training period.

 

Professional fisherman (Fisker)

  • Mandatory training of three periods of six months with a trainee salary.  

Basic Maritime Education (den grundlæggende maritime uddannelse, BEK nr 1609 af 13/12/2016)

In the Basic Maritime Education, students specialise as either master home trade (kystskipper) or ship’s assistant, basic. For both education programmes, the following rules apply:

  • One year of seagoing service with trainee salary.
  • The education institution and the shipping company must enter into a training agreement.
  • A qualified training officer must guide the student during the training periods, and a training record book, which is published by the Danish Agency for Science and Higher Education, must be completed during the training period.

  Master restricted (Sætteskipper, BEK nr 798 af 18/06/2018)

  • Eighteen months of seagoing service with trainee salary.
  • The education institution and the shipping company must enter into a training agreement.
  • A qualified training officer must guide the student during the training periods, and a training record book, which is published by the Danish Agency for Science and Higher Education, must be completed during the training period.

 

Master unlimited (Skibsfører uden gymnasiel uddannelse, BEK nr 636 af 25/06/2019):

  • Mandatory training period of a maximum of 18 months with a trainee salary.
  • A qualified training officer must guide the student during the training periods, and a training record book, which is published by the Danish Agency for Science and Higher Education, must be completed during the training period.
  • The education institution and the shipping company must enter into a training agreement.

 

Ship mechanic (Skibsmekaniker, BEK nr 335 af 25/04/2018)

The duration of the education is 3 years and 8–9 months depending on the age of the student. Students aged 25 years or older enrol on vocational education and training for adults, which has a duration of 3 years and 8 months. The school-based part of the education is 18–20 weeks and the rest of the education programme is a traineeship. Students are entitled to a trainee salary.

 

Ship’s cook (Skibskok, BEK nr 1622 af 15/12/2016)

  • Four weeks with a trainee salary.
  • A ship’s cook with a business license from the Danish Maritime Authority must guide the student during the training period, and a training record book, which is published by the Danish Agency for Science and Higher Education, must be completed during the training period.
  • The education institution and the shipping company must enter into a training agreement.

 

Approved shipping companies are entitled to a traineeship grant when they have trainees on board. The education institutions are responsible for approving the shipping companies.

 

Traineeships at the higher education institutions within the fine arts

Aarhus School of Architecture

Bachelor programme:

  • Mandatory in the 5th semester
  • Lasts three weeks
  • Is completed with a joint and an individual reflection assignment
 

Master programme:

  • Optional on the 7th semester
  • Lasts one semester
  • Student must keep a log book
  • Completed with a report

 

Design School Kolding

Bachelor programme:

  • Mandatory traineeship
  • 6th semester
  • lasts nine weeks full-time (37 hours a week)
  • 15 ECTS
  • Contract must be signed by provider and student
  • The contract establishes learning objectives
  • Student must keep a log book

Bachelor Project:

  • Project-based course is mandatory in 6th semester
  • 15 ECTS
  • Lasts ten weeks
  • The student must establish a cooperation with an enterprise/organisation/institution

Master programme:

  • Mandatory main project, which is a project-based course
  • 4th semester
  • 30 ECTS
  • Lasts 22 weeks
  • The student must establish a cooperation with an enterprise/organisation/institution

 

The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts Schools of Architecture, Design and Conservation

Architecture

Bachelor programme:

  • Mandatory traineeship
  • 6th semester
  • 30 ECTS
  • The traineeship is completed with a report
  • The report is assessed with grades
  • The practical training is assessed as passed/failed
 
Design

Bachelor programme:

  • Mandatory traineeship
  • 6th semester
  • 20 ECTS
  • Practical training and report are assessed as passed/failed

 

Conservation

Master programme:

  • Optional traineeship
  • 1st, 2nd, or 3rd semester
  • 20 ECTS
  • The traineeship is completed with a report assessed as passed/failed

Source: The Danish Rectors’ Conference of the higher education institutions within the fine arts (Rektorkollegiet for de kunstneriske uddannelser), 2017.

 

Traineeships at Danish universities

The education programmes at Danish universities are regulated in:

The Act on Universities

The ministerial order on universities

Some education programmes include mandatory traineeship that prolong the study, for instance:

  • Bachelor in Journalism (jounalist)
  • Medical Studies (medicin)

All other university programmes have the opportunity to establish project-based courses (projekt-orienteret forløb) in Denmark or abroad.

In 2016, a study examined the use of traineeships at Danish universities. The study concluded that:

  • 42% of the bachelor programmes offer project-based courses.
  • 79% of the master programmes offer project-based courses.
  • Many programmes have formulated a framework for the project-oriented course, for instance with regard to contracts, prior approval, documentation of the learning outcome, etc.
  • An overview of the use of project-based courses between 2008-2016 shows that 31 education programmes (21 master educations and 10 bachelor educations) have mandatory project-based courses.
  • 66% of all education programmess (661 educations out of 994 educations) offer project-based courses.
  • Often, students have a supervisor during the project-based project.
  • In general, 29% of students who started their study in 2009 and have completed a bachelor and master programme, have completed at least one project-based course.

The project-based course takes place at an enterprise where the student gains practical experience. The project-based course does not prolong the study. Often, the student must be proactive in finding a relevant enterprise. Often, the course is completed with a report and an oral exam.

 

Social security coverage

In Denmark, all people with legal residence are entitled to public health insurance. The public health insurance includes free treatments at a general practitioner, at hospitals, subsidies for dental work, medicine, psychologist, and other types of treatments.

As a general rule, during traineeship and apprenticeship in Denmark the students are covered by the Act on Industrial Injury Insurance. The coverage is regulated by the ministerial order on industrial injury insurance for students. The workplace/enterprise is responsible for the insurance during the apprenticeship.

In Denmark, students are entitled to either the state education grant (SU) or trainee/ apprentice salary. All students in VET receive an apprentice salary. The trainee/apprentice salary is established in a collective agreement. Students are taxed on their income.

If a VET student is obliged to take the practical training at an enterprise in another part of the country, the student may be entitled to mobility funding from the Employers’ Reimbursement Fund (AUB).

 

Target groups

All young people at education institutions.

 

The link with the youth guarantee scheme

According to the Ministerial Order on Obligation to be in Education, Employment or Other Activities (pligtbekendtgørelsen, BEK nr. 1014 af 04/10/2019), 15–17-year-olds are obliged to be in education, employment, or training. The obligation is implemented in the individual education plan, which is formulated between the young person and the municipal youth guidance units (Kommunal ungeindsats) during lower secondary education. When the municipality becomes aware that a young person is not complying with the individual education plan, the municipality is obliged to contact the young person within five days. Furthermore, the municipality is obliged to offer the young person a new activity, which may be traineeship, 30 days after the municipality has contacted the young person.

According to the Act on Active Labour Market (Lov om en aktiv beskæftigelsesindsats, LOV nr 548 af 07/05/2019):

  • Young people below the age of 30 on social assistance without an education leading to a vocational/professional qualification are required to participate in an offer, for instance a traineeship, after 1 month of unemployment.

 

Traineeships in the private sector outside the formal education system

Private market traineeships are only used to a limited extent in Denmark. There is no regulatory framework relating specifically to private market traineeships, but the Danish Work Environment Act applies equally to people in trainee positions when the work is performed for an employer.

 

Traineeship as an active labour market measure

Unemployed persons participate in different active labour market measures. One of these measures is a traineeship. A traineeship is i.a. an opportunity to give the unemployed person experiences and competences to include in their CV.

As a consequence of the tripartite agreement in 2016, three unions (FTF, AC, and LO) had the responsibility of establishing and coordinating special traineeships aimed at unemployed new graduates. The measure ran from 2017 to 2018.

The measure was a continuation of the measure in 2012-2013 and 2014-2015.

In 2019, the traineeship initiative was continued. See section 3.6.

The COVID-19 crisis has affected the unemployment rate, and as a consequence a majority in parliament has agreed to prolong the trainee measure for recent graduates. The measure was scheduled to end in 2020, but new funding has extended the measure until 1 July 2022.

With the measure, unemployed graduates receive individual, tailored support, combining a traineeship, guidance and skills-upgrading.

 

The Basic Integration Education (IGU)

In February 2019, a tripartite agreement between the government and the social partners was established. With the agreement, the basic integration education (IGU) continues until 2022. In July 2019, the parliament passed the bill on IGU (Lov om ændring af lov om integrationsgrunduddannelse (IGU), Lov nr 562 af 07/05/2019).

1 July 2016, The Basic Integration Education (IGU) programme was launched. The programme consists of a two-year traineeship in which a refugee or a reunited family member of a refugee is employed at a company and paid trainee wages, while receiving other schooling (20 weeks in total) such as Danish lessons in parallel. The scheme is a supplement to internships, wage subsidised jobs and upskilling.

The scheme targets refugees or reunited family members of a refugee in the 18-40 years old age group, who have resided legally in Denmark for less than five years.

The scheme is part of the tripartite agreement I on labour market integration between the government and social partners.

 

Promoting traineeships and apprenticeships

The tripartite negotiations of 2016 established several measures to increase the number of apprenticeship places. The main mechanism of the measures is to increase the incentives for enterprises to establish training contracts with students. (See more in section 3.6)

At Praktikpladsen.dk, apprenticeships for VET-students are distributed among students and enterprises. The Ministry of Children and Education runs the website.

 

Recognition of learning outcomes

As most traineeships and apprenticeships take place within the formal education system, the recognition of outcome is established in the curriculum of the individual education programmes. The outcome is established in learning objectives and measurable targets, which are assessed during some form of examination, either oral, practical, or in writing.

In Denmark, the examination of all education programmes uses a marking scale with seven grades. Some vocational education programmes make use of verbal scales in the apprenticeship test (svendeprøve).

Since 2001, the European credit transfer and accumulation system (ECTS) has been used in higher education.

Danish VET institutions may use the following qualification frameworks:

  • The European Credit System for Vocational Education and Training (ECVET)
  • The European Qualifications Framework (EQF)
  • European Quality Assurance in Vocational Education and Training (EQAVET)

 

Europass

Since 2002, all Danish higher education institutions must issue a diploma supplement together with the degree certificate.

Recognition of non-formal learning such as traineeships outside the formal education system is described in detail section 2.7. (See section 2.7)

 

Funding

All traineeships and apprenticeships within the Danish education system and the labour market measures are publicly funded by the sector ministries.

Private traineeships are funded by the private firm/enterprise.

According to the tripartite agreement II of 2016, enterprises within the VET sector must contribute to the Employers’ Reimbursement Fund (AUB). The fund compensates enterprises that have apprentices, whereas enterprises with no apprentices must contribute with a larger share.

 

Quality assurance

The quality assurance mechanisms vary depending on the specific education programme. As a general rule, a contract is signed by the trainee/apprentice and the provider. The contract establishes specific learning objectives.

Furthermore, providers of traineeships/apprenticeships must be approved.

In the VET programmes, the enterprise is obliged to formulate an apprenticeship declaration after each period in the enterprise. The declaration contains information regarding the apprentice’s tasks and whether the apprentice has fulfilled the learning objectives established in the education agreement. Traineeship/apprenticeship in VET education programmes is completed with an apprenticeship test (svendeprøve).

In the university academies and university colleges, meetings are set up before, during, and after the traineeship. Here, the education institution, the provider, and the student establish learning objectives and evaluate the course and the outcome.

Traineeships in the labour market system are monitored by Danish Agency for Labour Market and Recruitment (STAR). The Ministry of Employment establishes specific labour market targets that the local municipalities and job centres are obliged to fulfil. In the municipal employment plan, the municipality reports on specific targets. Targets regarding the traineeship may be part of the report.