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EACEA National Policies Platform:Eurydice
National reforms in vocational education and training and adult learning


14.Ongoing reforms and policy developments

14.3National reforms in vocational education and training and adult learning

Last update: 27 November 2023


Austrian National Implementation Plan for the 2020 Council Recommendation on VET and Osnabrück Declaration

National strategy

Status: ongoing since 2022


National implementation plan

Greenovet, Green-Tech Academy


Austria modernises its VET system. In response to the 2020 Council recommendation on VET and the Osnabrück Declaration, Austria has prepared a national implementation plan addressing the European priorities and its national objectives in VET and lifelong learning. The plan aims at counteracting the shortage of skilled labour, improving the attractiveness of VET, making non-formal qualifications visible and responding to internationalisation, greening and digitisation of the economy. An essential aim of the plan remains tackling inequalities and ensuring equal access to education.

Austria’s VET supports sustainability and targets the green transition. To identify and close green skills gaps, Austria launched the project GREENOVET in 2022 and provides initial and continuous education and training for the green transition also to secondary teachers within the Green-Tech Academy (GRETA). The Academy promotes cooperation and networking in the knowledge triangle of research-economy-education in which regional vocational schools are also integrated.

Funding: (no data available)

Monitoring and involved bodies: BMBWF

Higher Vocational Education

Regulation and legislative documents

Status: law-making


draft law


Around 1.6 million people have an apprenticeship diploma as their highest level of completed education.  

The government wants to offer new prospects to apprenticeship graduates and graduates of vocational schools and colleges (BMHS) with new job-oriented continuing education formats. A draft law on higher vocational education and training aims to create the basis for courses that for example will enable roofers to qualify as photovoltaic or solar thermal specialists, or chimney sweeps to become energy efficiency consultants.

This is to be achieved by including the qualifications in the National Qualifications Framework, which has so far only been fully populated for general educational qualifications.

There should be more than the already existing master craftsman and qualification exams afterwards. However, the draft law only creates the framework for this. The new formats will then have to be implemented by further education providers - they will also take the exams. To do so, they must also have expertise in the professional field of activity.

No titles will be awarded, but degree designations will be. In the future, the individual educational levels will be called "Higher Professional Qualification" (level 5), "Specialized Diploma" (level 6) and "Higher Specialized Diploma" (level 7). As a rule, one level must be completed before a qualification for the next can be acquired - although there will be exceptions to this, for example in the case of appropriate professional experience,

There will not be corresponding offers in all of the 230 or so apprenticeship professions right away. However, they will be created gradually, the first ones in the fall of next year at the earliest.

This will be documented in the register of educational attainment as data on higher vocational education.

Funding: Budget of BMA 

Monitoring and involved bodies: BMA and BMBWF

VET Schools and Colleges for Social Care and Nursing

Implementation of new type of school


School projects since 2020/21; part of regular schooling starting with 2023/24



Due to demographic developments in combination with family changes, the need for care will increase. As a contribution to reducing the need in the nursing sector Austria started a new type of training in the 2020/21 school year (entrance at grade 9):

  • 5-year college for nursing and social care with the degree of nursing assistant or diploma in social care
  • 3-year school for social professions with preparation for nursing, leading to the degree of nursing assistant

National curricula will be decreed mid 2023.

Funding: part of the ministry's budget.

Monitoring and involved bodies:

Initiative for Adult Education - new cycle

Status: former cycle 2018 - 2021; extended until 2023 



The Initiative for Adult Education enables adults who lack basic skills or never graduated from lower secondary education to continue and finish their education free of charge. The related joint funding programme developed by the state and the provinces (Bundesländer) has aimed to a quantitative expansion and to a qualitative development of education programs regarding compulsory education certificates and literacy/basic education during 2011 to 2014  as well as during 2015 to 2017.

Austrian educational institutions that want to take part have to apply for accreditation in accordance with the guidelines of the Initiative for Adult Education.

The initiative has two focus areas: training of basic skills and lower secondary education as a basic prerequisite for further education and enhancement of chances on the labour market. The main objectives therefore are:

  • Equal opportunities and reduction of disadvantages,
  • reduction of the number of persons without basic education,
  • increase in the number of persons with basic educational qualifications and
  • increase in the permeability of the education system.


  • Training of basic skills and lower secondary education for adults in preparation for the compulsory school certificate on the basis of general quality standards
  • General quality standards: a Compulsory School Examination Act which contains adult-appropriate and innovative forms of implementation with competence-orientated, cross-curricular programs which are tailored to the target groups, taking their living situations and their particular potential into account.
  • Development of a "Framework Directive for Basic Training and Key Competences" targeted at adults
  • A clearing-period at the beginning and counselling in regard to the transition into work or further education at the end are very important parts of this programme.

Expected impact:

  • Increase of qualification levels, the reduction of disadvantages
  • Provide offers free of charge (literacy/basic education programmes, compulsory education).

Funding: the federal and provincial governments each bear 50% of the costs. This educational offer is free of charge to participants.


  • Consistent quality guidelines for all courses of this programme have been implemented.
  • A monitoring group supervises the process and the results.
  • The total costs will only be refunded to the institutions if participants graduate successfully.
  • Evaluation of the program.

Involved bodies:

See also: Reform of Nursing

chapter 14.4 (2021)


There have been no reforms.


Initiative for Adult Education - old cycle

Cycle 2018 - 2021 finished.