The purpose of the study is to investigate and foster social partners’ integration in dual VET in countries that have recently developed projects of dual VET or are attempting to strength, reinforce or improve dual VET system. Bearing this in mind, four countries appear to meet this criterion, namely Spain, Portugal, Poland and Greece.

Transnational dimension

In Spain, the VET system has been poorly connected with the labour market, being mainly school-based with only a marginal apprenticeship approach. In this context, the government of the Popular Party regulated in 2012 a dual VET model based on greater cooperation and involvement of the company in the IVET system. The programme is in an early stage, being mainly implemented on a pilot basis, although the number of studies enrolled in dual VET systems has continuously grown. Social partners' integration has been assessed in scientific articles as poorly developed. Dual VET was designed and implemented unilaterally by the government. Social partners at sectoral level are not playing any role in regulating working conditions of apprenticeship, which are set up by the state.

In Portugal, different types of VETs which include a dual or apprenticeship path have been in place for years. The delivery of dual VET is predominantly the responsibility of public institutions such as technical and professional schools, training centres, training professional centres, universities and other tertiary institutions. The role of social partners is limited and this has been a source of criticisms (Cedefop, 2016). In recent years, Portugal has been involved in different projects which aim to strength and improve dual VET system, mainly by cooperating with the Germany government and social partners, namely the Dual Centres (

Greece has traditionally had a school-based VET system. In 2016, a new law was approved which gives the opportunity to young people to acquire work experience after graduating from the Vocational Secondary School through the introduction of an Apprenticeship Class. The “Apprenticeship Class” is a dual system of theory and training. It combines a so-called “specialty laboratory courses” of a total of two hundred and three (203) hours which are provided by the teaching staff of the Vocational Secondary Schools (EPA.L) and of the Laboratory Centres of the Secondary Vocational Education (E.K.); and “Workplace training program” of twenty-eight (28) hours a week, for a period of four days per week for 9 months. An apprentice holds an apprenticeship agreement with the employer, receives a pay in accordance with applicable law and has insurance coverage.

In Poland, educational reform is being implemented since the beginning of 2017, which, among other objectives, aims to promote dual vocational training in cooperation with the business sector. The reform of vocational school (szkoła branżowa) is intended to emulate the German dual education system. This will combine students’ classroom study with a minimum 50% of hands-on learning. Trade unions criticised the reform, expressing concerns on the low degree of consultation (Czarzasty, 2017).


In order to analyse the 4 countries and develop scenarios to improve social partners’ integration, the consortium involves 4 research centres as applicant and co-applicants (one per country included).


The lead applicant, NOTUS (ES) is a research centre devoted to applied social research which gathers experts with longstanding expertise in the analysis of employment and labour market policies, with a focus on gender and social equity as cross-cutting themes. NOTUS develops research activities and provides technical assistance using scientifically rigorous methodologies with an interdisciplinary focus with the aim to give support to actors in both public and private sectors committed to gender equality, social inclusion and sustainability. Most Notus activities entail cooperation with social partners on a regular basis. NOTUS has carried out comparative research on industrial relations (Eurofound, 2018b) and has been involved in European projects on vocational training. NOTUS research team has several publications on VET and dual VET (Homs, 2008, 2016; Sanz de Miguel, 2017).


CICS.NOVA (UNL) is the interdisciplinary research centre of social sciences of the University Nova of Lisbon. It has a dynamic group of applied research – The Observatory of Technology Assessment - that develops European research projects on the role of social partners in a broad range of fields, including telework crowdworking, human-machine interaction, robotics, etc. The Observatory is also member of the European Parliamentary Technology Assessment (EPTA). The senior researchers involved in this project have long experience on the development of education and vocational training systems in Portugal in the context of social, economy and technology changes since the decade of 1980.


The Institute of Public Affairs (IPA) is a leading Polish think tank and an independent centre for policy research and analysis, established in 1995. Main areas of study at the IPA include European policy, social policy, education, civil society, migration and development policy as well as law and democratic institutions. The IPA has been a correspondent to the European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions (Eurofound) uninterruptedly since 2002. Both European and national social dialogue and industrial relations are one of the key focus, especially while analysing on-going design and implementation of policy reforms. One of the examples of such reforms is education system that has been a subject of several reforms in the last three decades. Last phase of the transformation, that started in 2017, included also implementation of the dual vocational education system and liquidation of gymnasiums (secondary level of public schools). Every year the IPA publishes over 50 reports and hosts dozens of conferences, seminars, round tables, workshops and other events with the participation of key policy and opinion makers. Our experts regularly comment on current policy issues in printed and electronic media.


The Labour Institute of the union confederation GSEE (INE/GSEE) was founded in 1990 as the research institute of trade unions in Greece with the aim to conduct research and contribute to scientifically substantiated interventions of GSEE in education, employment, social and economic policies and industrial relations.

Specifically, the goal of the Human Resource Development Sector of INE is to develop and communicate know-how concerning trade union activities in the field of vocational training, lifelong learning, adult education and socially vulnerable groups, (educational theories, educational methods/techniques, development of educational material, etc.). INE/GSEE also participates as a representative of GSEE in all the social partners negotiations regarding employment policies, vocational training and labour market in European (as representatives of GSEE in ETUC), national, regional, and local level. INE/GSEE participates also in strong European networks in Vocational Education & Training as EVTA and EVBB.

Associate Members


CCOO - Spain


Teachers’ Union - Poland


AIMMAP - Portugal

Advisory Board

This committee will provide scientific peer-review to the national and comparative reports. It will be composed by internationally recognised scientific experts on industrial relations and VET.

Dr. Wilfried Kruse (Germany)

Senior researcher and consultant on industrial relations, organisation of work and vocational training; former managing director of the Social Research Center Dortmund.

Dr. Jörg Markowitsch (Austria)

Senior researcher on lifelong learning and VET. Senior Partner at 3s Unternehmensberatung GmBH.

Valter Fissaber (Greece)

Senior researcher and consultant on education, VET and lifelong learning, with a focus on employment and social inclusion; former director or president of different public scientific bodies and boards of the Ministry of Education.

Oriol Homs (Spain)

Senior researcher and consultant on education, VET, lifelong learning and active labour market policies. Policy advisor of local/national administrations and public employment services on dual VET. Former director of the CIREM Foundation. Partner at notus-asr.