National Vocational Training Systems in the Light of EU Directives

Keywords: vocational training, EU vocational training development policy, practical training, Czech Republic, Estonia, Latvia, national vocational training systems, apprenticeship contract

In the last decade, reforms aiming at developing vocational training gained more and more emphasis in the European Union’s educational policies. This process took start with the Copenhagen Declaration, with improving the performance, quality and attractiveness of European vocational education and training as its highest priority. This also includes creating educational frames which facilitate and speed up the entry to the job market of young Europeans. To make this happen in the member states, it is necessary to maximize work-based learning, within the frames of practical training by apprenticeship contracts, in cooperation with vocational training institutes, social partners and vocational services and companies.

This paper examines how the Czech Republic, Estonia and Latvia incorporate EU directives into their national vocational training development policies, with a special focus on the nature of practical training.

In all three countries, work-based practical training is available, although there are some differences regarding the organization of these. In the Czech Republic, due to the lack of apprenticeship contracts, it is in all circumstances schools that organize the practical trainings at companies. On the contrary, practical training by apprenticeship contract exists in both Baltic states; moreover, a number of reforms and measures were implemented supporting this sort of programme.