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EACEA National Policies Platform


3. Employment & Entrepreneurship

3.5 Traineeships and apprenticeships

Last update: 26 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 are organised through the formal upper secondary education system in Norway. Vocational education and training (VET) programmes usually entail two years of education in an upper secondary school followed by two years of apprenticeship training and productive work in a training enterprise or public institution. The upper secondary schools are responsible for the first two years of education and training, while the enterprises are responsible for the final two years. 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 a signed contract between the apprentice and the training enterprise. The county authorities have an overarching responsibility for all aspects of public upper secondary education and training, including apprenticeship training. Thus, the apprenticeship contract must be approved by the county authorities.

The Education Act provides the regulatory framework for apprenticeship. Chapter 4. Upper secondary education and training in enterprises defines the terms apprentice, candidate for certificate of practice, training candidate and candidate for trade certificate at work. The act spells out the rights and obligations of apprentices and the other categories of candidates as well as the rights and obligations of training establishments. It also describes the county authority's duties concerning vocational education and training.

Many companies and public enterprises offer traineeships or traineeship programmes targeting young professionals with a college or university degree and with limited working experience. Traineeship programmes usually last for 12 months, include rotation within the company and guarantees full time employment in a junior management position at the end of the program. There is no regulatory framework relating specifically to trainees, but the Work Environment Act applies equally to people in trainee positions. As salaries are not regulated by the Work Environment Act pay may therefore vary significantly for trainees.

Social security coverage

All persons who are either residents or working as employees in Norway are entitled to essential medical and care services, and are compulsorily insured under the National Insurance Scheme. Persons insured under the National Insurance Scheme are entitled to old-age pension, survivors' pension, disability benefit, basic benefit and attendance benefit in case of disablement, technical aids etc., work assessment allowance, occupational injury benefits, benefits to single parents, cash benefits in case of sickness, maternity, adoption and unemployment, medical benefits in case of sickness and maternity and funeral grant.

Cooperation with social partners

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 vocational education and training. The social partners have been actively involved in the development of the a new structure of available courses and apprenticeships which is in force from the school year 2020/21 and also in the development of renewed vocational education and training curricula for all trades and crafts in accordance with labour market needs.

Promoting traineeships and apprenticeships

The Government has launched the VET Promotion initiative with three main goals: closer cooperation between schools and businesses, greater flexibility in vocational education and training, and better and more relevant courses. The apprenticeship promotion initiative is designed to help enterprises seeking to become training establishments and make new companies aware of the advantages of having apprenticeship programmes. The initiative’s website provides information about, among other things, how to become an approved training establishment. The apprenticeship promotion initiative has been developed in cooperation between the education authorities and employers’ and employees’ organisations.

As part of the initiative to provide more opportunities for young people to earn their trade or journeyman's certificate, the Government has drawn up a strategy to increase the number of apprentices in the government administration. The strategy also includes measures to increase awareness in the public sector about the valuable resource apprentices represent, as well as measures to make it easier to provide apprentices with high-quality training. The Government also requires companies to have an apprenticeship programme to be eligible to win contracts for major public procurements.

Recognition of learning outcomes

The county authority issues trade and journeyman's certificates and certificates of practice on the grounds of passed examinations, and vocational training certificates based on completed training. The county authority approves the practical experience of candidates registering for the trade or journeyman's examination without an apprenticeship period.

National validation arrangements make use of the European Credit System for Vocational Education and Training (ECVET) exclusively for cross-border mobility, both when sending students and apprentices, and when receiving students and apprentices in vocational and vocational training.

Recognition of foreign vocational education and training includes an assessment of vocational content. NOKUT (the Norwegian Agency for Quality Assurance in Education) assesses vocational education and training and compares it in scope, level and vocational content with a Norwegian craft or journeyman’s certificate. Recognition of vocational education and training means that the qualification is comparable with a Norwegian craft or journeyman’s certificate. Recognition is voluntary and intended to assist persons with foreign vocational education and training in the Norwegian job market.

There is no formal recognition of traineeships or participation in traineeship programmes.


The counties are responsible for funding according to guidelines and rates set by the Ministry, in pursuance of regulations set by the Education Act (section 11-4).The counties provide regular basic grants to companies that take apprentices, candidates for certificate of practice, training candidates and candidates for trade certificate at work.  The rates are adjusted annually and announced by the Norwegian Directorate for Education and Training.

Quality assurance

The Norwegian Directorate for Education and Training provides a knowledge base, tools, procedures and goals for key actors on different levels in the education system. 

There is no system of quality assurance relating to traineeships or traineeship programmes.