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EACEA National Policies Platform:Eurydice
Organisation of vocational upper secondary education


6.Upper secondary education and post-secondary tertiary Education

6.4Organisation of vocational upper secondary education

Last update: 27 November 2023

Types of institutions

A large majority of upper secondary schools in Norway are combined schools, i.e. they offer both general and vocational education. Institutions offering both general and vocational education sometimes have teaching facilities in separate buildings.

The schools specialise and offer full qualifications in different programmes. All the county authorities have to offer most of the educational programmes of the curriculum.

Public or private enterprises and organisations approved by the county authorities to take on apprentices are responsible for apprenticeship training. Thus, in Norway both schools, enterprises and organisations may be VET providers.

Geographical accessibility

Same as for general upper secondary education. See chapter 6.2. 

Admission requirements and choice of school

Same as for general upper secondary education. See chapter 6.2.

Age levels and grouping of pupils/students

As in general upper secondary education, pupils are 15-16 years or older when they enter vocational education and training. In the standard model for vocational education and training, the first two years are spent in school (year 1 and year 2), followed by a two-year apprenticeship, though some programmes require up to three years of company-based training. The apprenticeship normally consists of one year of full-time instruction combined with one year of productive work in an enterprise in the public or private sector. The training is sometimes combined with some teaching at school. County authorities assist pupils in finding apprenticeship enterprises. If there is a shortage of avaliable apprenticeship places, or if a pupil is not placed in an enterprise, the county authorities are obliged to provide a specialisation option in year 3 in school, leading to a trade or journeyman's certificate. In such cases there is no productive work in an enterprise i.e. the trade or journeyman’s test is taken directly after the school year. Thus, this structure requires a close cooperation between schools and employers.

Organisation of the school year

Same as for general upper secondary education. See chapter 6.2.

Organisation of the school day and week

Pupils in vocational upper secondary programmes follow the same regulations as pupils in general programmes. Apprentices follow the working day and week of the training enterprise, regulated in the Work Environment Act.