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

Belgium - German-Speaking Community

14.Ongoing reforms and policy developments

14.3National reforms in vocational education and training and adult learning

Last update: 28 August 2023
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Adaptation in the field of vocational guidance

Several conclusions were drawn from the analysis of various surveys from the German-speaking Community, the recommendations of the OECD as well as from becoming acquainted with vocational orientation concepts from six foreign territorial authorities. Among others, the need for a holistic concept for vocational orientation and the implementation of compulsory work placements for pupils of all school types and disciplines.   

The goal of developing a holistic concept for vocational orientation requires structural changes in the vocational orientation offers. The existing offers must be made more visible, bundled and embedded in a coordinated concept.    

The new career orientation concept provides for activities that are carried out by the school for all school levels from the 5th primary school year onwards: from career exploration in the upper primary level to a one to three-day job shadowing in the first secondary level and a company exploration in the second secondary level to a three to five-day internship in the fourth secondary school year and an accompanied self-reflection in the third secondary level. These activities are complemented by a digital student portfolio for career orientation that accompanies each student through his or her school career in secondary school.     

The internship in the 4th year of secondary school aims to give the pupils an age-appropriate trial of a profession. It enables the pupil to get to know a profession and to gain a first insight into everyday working life. No work performance takes place under the same conditions under which the company's employees carry out their work. 

In order to support this implementation, the school staff needs to be increased in order to integrate these interdisciplinary competences into a school-internal concept. To this end, the mandate of the middle managers in the secondary schools was expanded to include the coordination of the teaching of the generic competences and the number of middle managers per secondary school was increased. The new framework plan "Vocational Orientation" will also come into force in September 2023.


Dual apprenticeship for small and medium-sized enterprises   

Apprentices receive higher minimum compensation since 1 July   

The government of the German-speaking Community has increased the minimum monthly compensation for apprentices and, to this end, adapted the decree on education and training in small and medium-sized enterprises. According to Minister of Education Lydia Klinkenberg, the new rates will apply from 1 July 2022, i.e. from the beginning of the new apprenticeship year. In October 2020, a working group consisting of representatives of the Institute for Initial and Continuing Training (IAWM), its board of directors and representatives of all sectors submitted a joint proposal to the government to increase the minimum monthly compensation for apprentices. On behalf of the Minister of Education, the opinions of all relevant stakeholders were subsequently gathered on the project. These were all positive. 


ZAWM (Zentrum für Aus- und Weiterbildung) submits a project application for 01.01.2022 with the focus on vocational testing, shortened training and German as a second language support.  A survey of ZAWM staff on refugee and immigrant apprentices has shown that, on the one hand, only a few people from this target group find their way into apprenticeships.   On the other hand, an increased need for support was identified in this target group, especially in the area of German as a second language, but also in mathematics and French.  

In order to create a broader access to apprenticeship, the BIDA III project would like to offer a vocational trial for interested adults. In addition, a shortened and low-threshold training programme called "training on the job" is to make training possible for people for whom a three to five-year apprenticeship would not be an option.  The project wants to respond to the great need for support in the area of German as a foreign language, but also in mathematics and French, by offering individual support in the form of individual and group tutoring. The language support (DaZ) accompanies the participants in mastering general knowledge, technical knowledge and in the workplace.   The project is designed for a funding period of three years.

Adult learning 

The funding of classical adult education, i.e. the annual flat-rate grant according to Article 10 of the Decree of 17 November 2008 on the promotion of adult education institutions, remains in place. The funding of the already approved supplementary grants according to Article 11 of the same decree of 17 November 2008 also remains in place. The government has decided to extend the grant guarantee.  

The eligibility criterion of a minimum of 104 CET (Continuing Education Offer Days) offer days per year or (since 1 January 2020) 208 CET units within two calendar years, of which at least 160 units are aimed at adults and at least 40 units take place in the north and 40 units in the south of the German-speaking area - according to Article 7(3) of the same decree of 17 November 2008 will be softened due to the current situation.