Sorry, you need to enable JavaScript to visit this website.
Skip to main content
European Commission logo


EACEA National Policies Platform


3. Employment & Entrepreneurship

3.5 Traineeships and apprenticeships

Last update: 28 November 2023
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 are a compulsory part of many vocational traits on the upper secondary school level and in teacher’s education at the university level, but are offered as part of another university education as well, for example in law. Rules and regulation specifically regarding apprenticeships on the upper secondary school level are issued by the Ministry of Education Science and Culture.

The Act No. 840/2011 denotes the responsibilities of schools and the company/institution in question when preparing terms of agreement for student’s apprenticeship. It also states the obligation of the receiving company/institution to provide minimal standard of working conditions. According to this act, apprenticeship agreements should be in accordance with collective agreements for apprentices in the relevant field of work.

There is a necessary cooperation between schools and the hosting company/institute regarding apprenticeships. Schools and companies/institutions sign an agreement regarding terms and conditions of the apprenticeship, whereby schools are obliged to ensure that their students complete the necessary apprenticeship for their vocation, and companies/institutions are responsible of fulfilling the necessary terms and condition of the quality of the workplace and ensuring that collective agreements on apprenticeships are respected. Iceland is a member of the AIESEC organization which empowers young people to seek apprenticeships/internships abroad.

No public documents suggest that specific target groups are targeted for apprenticeships.

As of 2016, Iceland stands outside the European Union, and so is not a participant in the Youth Guarantee scheme. The scheme is a commitment by the member states to help all young people under the age of 25 receive, quality employment, education and apprenticeship or trainee offers within a four month period after becoming unemployed or leaving formal education.


Promoting traineeships and apprenticeships

There are is no promotion of traineeships or apprenticeships which derives directly from the central authority in terms of facilitating the participation of young people, supporting and encouraging providers of traineeships and apprenticeships, or raising awareness of about traineeships and apprenticeships, other than what can be identified and interpreted as such in laws and regulations in this field issued by the relevant ministries. The participation of young people is facilitated through the legal framework on apprenticeships in the workplace (only available in Icelandic).


Recognition of learning outcomes


According to the act No. 840/2011, companies and institutions receiving students for apprenticeship is responsible to educate and train the student and ensure that he has the necessary skills and knowledge in all relevant aspects of his profession. Apprenticeships are usually a compulsory part of most vocational education and training, and skills acquired thus count towards diploma, provided all terms and condition of the apprenticeship agreement are fulfilled as stipulated in the act No. 840/2011.

IDAN Vocational Education and Training Centre issues a record book which students undertaking apprenticeship are obliged to keep and hand in at the end of the apprenticeship period (The book is only available in Icelandic).



According to the National fiscal budget for 2016, the Icelandic government allocated 21,2 million ISK to the Ministry of Industry and Innovation for the project involving traineeships.

Trade unions have special trust funds for traineeships for laymen to receive valuable training opportunities in their field. The role of these funds is to develop and increase the supply of courses for members of these unions to gain a stronger position on the labour market.


Quality assurance

According to the Act No. 840/2011, companies and institutions are required to fulfil certain obligations upon agreement between the company/institution in question and the relevant school. The first 12 weeks of the traineeship period shall be regarded as a trial period and within that time, both the school and the company can terminate the contract without providing any reason for their decision. If a company/institution fails to fulfil their obligations according to this act, it is required to find the trainee another place to conduct his traineeship in cooperation with the school. Starfsgreinaráð, a special committee subject to the Ministry of Education, Science and Culture shall keep a file of all the companies that fulfil the set obligation and standards by this act.

In the beginning of the traineeship period the trainee is provided with a logbook, issued by Iðan – Vocational Education and Training Centrem, which documents the training period. Teachers at the work place can log the trainee’s progress in various fields pertaining to the vocation and trainees can denote their experience of the working period. At the end of the training period, Iðan requires students to hand in the logbook for further evaluation.