Dual VET in Portugal is consolidated as the Apprenticeship System (Sistema de Aprendizagem). The Apprenticeship System has a tripartite management, and has been mainly developed by applying the Dual VET model in a workplace context. It is regulated and supervised by the Ministry of Labour through the Institute of Employment and Vocational Training (Instituto de Emprego e Formação Profissional – IEFP), conferring dual certification: both academic and vocational.
The Apprenticeship System, was created to solve the high levels of students that in the 80s and 90s left the formal education system without completing compulsory education and without any vocational training or qualification. It has been considered until recently (the years 2000 and more) as a second chance programme, with two exceptions in the automotive and tourism sector. Presently, the Apprenticeship System covers a younger population that starts this training after completing the lower secondary education (9th grade of schooling – ISCED 2).
Data from the desk research carried out as part of the Involve project in Portugal, point to an overall decrease in the number of young people attending vocational education and training courses in the different variants of the educational offer, and particularly in Apprenticeships. This issue has led the different economic, social and governmental actors to reflect on initiatives to be developed to stimulate the demand for VET.
The most recent findings from the field work have identified one proposal for agreement that is being drafted by the social partners that consist of the creation of a common curricular body for formal regular education and vocational education, and a change in the National Qualifications Framework (QNQ) in order to give Apprenticeships a level 5 vocational qualification (Interviews to ANESPO and IEFP).
This change is in line with the National Programme for Economic and Social Stabilisation (Programa de Estabilização Económica e Social, 2020 – PEES), which has Vocational Training as one of its axes. The guidelines for Vocational Training are to focus on post-secondary professional training (level 5), with a review and relaunch of the Technological Specialisation Courses (CET) and expansion of the Apprenticeship Courses to post-secondary level, the launching of the Dual + programme (PEES, 2020: p.12).
Negotiations are taking place at the tripartite Permanent Commission for Social Concertation – (Comissão Permanente de Concertação social – CPCS) and in the Ministry of Education, in line with the existing articulation, in Portugal, between education and training structures of governance (Interviews to ANESPO and IEFP).