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EACEA National Policies Platform


3. Employment & Entrepreneurship

3.5 Traineeships and apprenticeships

Last update: 25 March 2024
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

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

Apprenticeships for students in Danish VET programmes

Apprenticeship is mandatory and a requirement in most vocational education and training (VET) education programmes. The VET programmes are regulated through

Practical training takes place during the main course of the VET programmes. It may take the form of either an apprenticeship at one or more companies (uddannelsespraktik) or a school-based practical training (skolepraktik).

An apprenticeship at a company is the preferred form of practical training in VET programmes, but for quite a few years, finding enough companies to meet the demand for apprenticeship agreements has been a problem. In the tripartite agreement II of 2016, a quota agreement was settled. In order to be enrolled in certain vocational education programmes, students are now required to have an apprenticeship agreement with a company in order to begin the main course in the programme. For some programmes offering school-based practical training, quotas on the number of students in school-based education have been established.


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

The company(s) and the student formulate an education agreement, which is a contract for the entire main course of the programme. The education plan is an official document that must be signed at the beginning of the cooperation. 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.

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

There are specific guidelines regarding the company's responsibility and role. The company must:

  • Create and coordinate the apprenticeship in such a way that the practical training, along with the theoretical education at the school, fulfils the specific objectives and targets of the programme
  • Formulate an education plan with the student

School-based practical training

In case the student is unable to find a company 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 a company 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 arises
    • Vocationally mobile, which means that the student should be willing to accept another education programme if the opportunity of an apprenticeship agreement arises
    • Proactive in their effort to find an enterprise to enter into an education agreement with

The social partners play a significant role in the vocational education and training (VET) programmes

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

Traineeships for students at Danish university colleges (professional bachelor programmes)

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 as part of the programme, for instance:

  • Bachelor of Social Education
  • Bachelor of Education
  • Bachelor of Radiography
  • Bachelor of Midwifery
  • Bachelor of 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 1343 af 10/12/2019)

The Ministerial Order on Business Academies and University Colleges (Bekendtgørelse om erhvervsakademiuddannelser og professionsuddannelser, BEK nr 2672 af 28/12/2021)

The traineeship is regulated by the curriculum and the traineeship contracts.

According to the act:

  • The education institution must ensure a link between school-based education and 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 actors involved (the young person, education institution, and provider)

Traineeships for students at Danish 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 business academies.

Traineeships at business academies are regulated by:

The Act on Business Academies and University Colleges  (Bekendtgørelse af lov om erhvervsakademiuddannelser og professionsbacheloruddannelser, LBK nr 1343 af 10/12/2019)

The Ministerial Order on Business Academies and University Colleges (Bekendtgørelse om erhvervsakademiuddannelser og professionsuddannelser, BEK nr 2672 af 28/12/2021)

Traineeships for students at maritime education institutions in Denmark

Since 2019, regulations on the training periods in maritime professional bachelor education programmes has been implemented. Students can enter 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 programme is no longer a requirement.

Traineeship/seagoing service is part of the majority of maritime education programmes.

Traineeships for students at higher education institutions within the fine arts in Denmark

Education institutions within the fine arts can include traineeships in all education programmes. A maximum of 30 ECTS points can be replaced by a traineeship. 

The traineeship is regulated in the ministerial order on higher education within the fine arts (BEK nr 27 af 13/01/2020) and the Act amending the University Act, the SU Act, and other laws (LOV nr 435 af 08/05/2017).

In some education programmes, traineeship is mandatory, for instance, in the design and architecture programmes at the Royal Danish Academy.

Traineeships for students at Danish universities

The education programmes at Danish universities are regulated by The Act on Universities and the Act amending the University Act, the SU Act, and other laws (LOV nr 435 af 08/05/2017)

Some education programmes include mandatory traineeships, for instance:

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

Other university programmes have the option of offering project-based courses (projekt-orienteret forløb) in Denmark or abroad.

Social security coverage during apprenticeships in Denmark

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

As a general rule, during traineeship and apprenticeship in Denmark,  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/company is responsible for the insurance during the apprenticeship.

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

If a VET student is obliged to take up 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).

Traineeships in the private sector outside the formal education system in Denmark

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.

Traineeships for the unemployed 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, therefore, an opportunity to give the unemployed person experience and competences to include in their CV.

Traineeships in Basic Integration Education (IGU)

On 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 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.

In February 2022, a tripartite agreement between the government and the social partners was established. With the agreement, the basic integration education (IGU) continued until January 2024. 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).

Promoting traineeships and apprenticeships

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

At læ, apprenticeships for vocational education and training (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 outcomes 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 vocational education and training (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)


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 in section 2.7. (See section 2.7).


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

Private traineeships are funded by private companies.

According to the tripartite agreement II of 2016, companies within the VET sector must contribute to the Employers’ Reimbursement Fund (AUB). The fund compensates companies that have apprentices, whereas companies with no apprentices must contribute 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 vocational education and training (VET) programmes, the company 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).