Norway does well on vocational training but should improve the quality of apprenticeships


23/10/2008 - Norway’s vocational education and training system has many strengths: good co-operation between employers, unions and vocational authorities and high-status vocational tracks in upper secondary education. But there are also challenges: weak quality assurance, high dropout levels, ageing school-based trainers and concerns that the priority accorded to student choice makes the system unresponsive to the labour market.


High-level workplace skills support economic growth, and vocational education and training systems are under intense pressure to deliver the skills required. Learning for Jobs: OECD Reviews of Vocational Education and Training – Norway is part of a new OECD study of vocational education and training designed to help countries make their systems more responsive to labour market needs.


Among the recommendations for Norway:

  • Improve the quality of apprenticeship through training for workplace supervisors and a standardised national assessment of apprentices’ practical skills.
  • Provide effective guidance to students entering upper secondary vocational education to help them choose their programme.
  • Reduce the size of vocational programmes that do not lead to apprenticeships.
  • Tackle dropout through stronger intervention in early childhood and school systems.
  • Improve data and analysis on vocational education and training. 


Drawing on evidence from 15 countries, the OECD study identifies policy options and develops tools to assess policy initiatives. A first round of policy reviews began in late 2007, covering Australia, Hungary, Korea, Mexico, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom (England and Wales). A second phase, in 2009 and 2010, will include Austria, Belgium (Flanders), the Czech Republic, Germany, Ireland, the Netherlands and the United States (South Carolina and Texas). Initial findings will be available on the OECD website in 2009 and the final report will be published in 2010.


For further information, journalists are invited to contact Susan Copeland at OECD's Directorate for Education (tel. + 33 1 45 24 97 34).


The report on Sweden (April 2008) is also available.


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