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Spain:Main Types of Provision

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Overview Spain

Contents

Spain:Political, Social and Economic Background and Trends

Spain:Historical Development

Spain:Main Executive and Legislative Bodies

Spain:Population: Demographic Situation, Languages and Religions

Spain:Political and Economic Situation

Spain:Organisation and Governance

Spain:Fundamental Principles and National Policies

Spain:Lifelong Learning Strategy

Spain:Organisation of the Education System and of its Structure

Spain:Organisation of Private Education

Spain:National Qualifications Framework

Spain:Administration and Governance at Central and/or Regional Level

Spain:Administration and Governance at Local and/or Institutional Level

Spain:Statistics on Organisation and Governance

Spain:Funding in Education

Spain:Early Childhood and School Education Funding

Spain:Higher Education Funding

Spain:Adult Education and Training Funding

Spain:Early Childhood Education and Care

Spain:Organisation of Early Childhood Education and Care

Spain:Teaching and Learning in Early Childhood Education and Care

Spain:Assessment in Early Childhood Education and Care

Spain:Organisational Variations and Alternative Structures in Early Childhood Education and Care

Spain:Primary Education

Spain:Organisation of Primary Education

Spain:Teaching and Learning in Primary Education

Spain:Assessment in Primary Education

Spain:Organisational Variations and Alternative Structures in Primary Education

Spain:Secondary and Post-Secondary Non-Tertiary Education

Spain:Organisation of General Lower Secondary Education

Spain:Teaching and Learning in General Lower Secondary Education

Spain:Assessment in General Lower Secondary Education

Spain:Vocational Lower Secondary Education: Basic Vocational Training cycles

Spain:Organisation of General Upper Secondary Education

Spain:Teaching and Learning in General Upper Secondary Education

Spain:Assessment in General Upper Secondary Education

Spain:Organisation of Vocational Upper Secondary Education

Spain:Teaching and Learning in Vocational Upper Secondary Education

Spain:Assessment in Vocational Upper Secondary Education

Spain:Post-Secondary Non-Tertiary Education

Spain:Higher Education

Spain:Types of Higher Education Institutions

Spain:First Cycle Programmes

Spain:Bachelor

Spain:Short-Cycle Higher Education

Spain:Second Cycle Programmes

Spain:Programmes outside the Bachelor and Master Structure

Spain:Third Cycle (PhD) Programmes

Spain:Adult Education and Training

Spain:Distribution of Responsibilities

Spain:Developments and Current Policy Priorities

Spain:Main Providers

Spain:Main Types of Provision

Spain:Validation of Non-formal and Informal Learning

Spain:Teachers and Education Staff

Spain:Initial Education for Teachers Working in Early Childhood and School Education

Spain:Conditions of Service for Teachers Working in Early Childhood and School Education

Spain:Continuing Professional Development for Teachers Working in Early Childhood and School Education

Spain:Initial Education for Academic Staff in Higher Education

Spain:Conditions of Service for Academic Staff Working in Higher Education

Spain:Continuing Professional Development for Academic Staff Working in Higher Education

Spain:Initial Education for Teachers and Trainers Working in Adult Education and Training

Spain:Conditions of Service for Teachers and Trainers Working in Adult Education and Training

Spain:Continuing Professional Development for Teachers and Trainers Working in Adult Education and Training

Spain:Management and Other Education Staff

Spain:Management Staff for Early Childhood and School Education

Spain:Staff Involved in Monitoring Educational Quality for Early Childhood and School Education

Spain:Education Staff Responsible for Guidance in Early Childhood and School Education

Spain:Other Education Staff or Staff Working with Schools

Spain:Management Staff for Higher Education

Spain:Other Education Staff or Staff Working in Higher Education

Spain:Management Staff Working in Adult Education and Training

Spain:Other Education Staff or Staff Working in Adult Education and Training

Spain:Quality Assurance

Spain:Quality Assurance in Early Childhood and School Education

Spain:Quality Assurance in Higher Education

Spain:Quality Assurance in Adult Education and Training

Spain:Educational Support and Guidance

Spain:Special Education Needs Provision within Mainstream Education

Spain:Separate Special Education Needs Provision in Early Childhood and School Education

Spain:Support Measures for Learners in Early Childhood and School Education

Spain:Guidance and Counselling in Early Childhood and School Education

Spain:Support Measures for Learners in Higher Education

Spain:Guidance and Counselling in Higher Education

Spain:Support Measures for Learners in Adult Education and Training

Spain:Guidance and Counselling in a Lifelong Learning Approach

Spain:Mobility and Internationalisation

Spain:Mobility in Early Childhood and School Education

Spain:Mobility in Higher Education

Spain:Mobility in Adult Education and Training

Spain:Other Dimensions of Internationalisation in Early Childhood and School Education

Spain:Other Dimensions of Internationalisation in Higher Education

Spain:Other Dimensions of Internationalisation in Adult Education and Training

Spain:Bilateral Agreements and Worldwide Cooperation

Spain:Ongoing Reforms and Policy Developments

Spain:National Reforms in Early Childhood Education and Care

Spain:National Reforms in School Education

Spain:National Reforms in Vocational Education and Training and Adult Learning

Spain:National Reforms in Higher Education

Spain:National Reforms related to Transversal Skills and Employability

Spain:European Perspective

Spain:Legislation

Spain:Institutions

Spain:Bibliography

Spain:Glossary

 

Adult training provision is large and diverse, including literacy processes and basic education, training targeting integration into the labour market and leisure activities. It comprises different types of provision and programmes, which are offered by the education, employment and local authorities.

Adult training provision offered by the education, employment and local authorities

Type of provision

Name

Responsible authorities


Provision to raise achievement in basic skills

Basic education for adults

Initial education

Education


Secondary education for adults


Vocational secondary education for adults

Basic vocational training


Language education

To acquire the Basic User level (A1 and A2) according to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages.

In order to obtain a language certificate, they may sit the corresponding tests.


Provision to achieve a recognised qualification during adulthood

Post-compulsory education

Bachillerato

Education


Vocational training: intermediate and advanced vocational training cycles


Examinations

To obtain a qualification: Lower Compulsory Secondary Education Certificate, Bachillerato certificate, Technician certificate, Advanced Technician certificate.

To obtain a language certificate without completing the corresponding course.


To have access to studies leading to the award of an official qualification: intermediate and advanced vocational training, advanced artistic education and university education.


Provision targeting the transition to the labour market

 

Supply training

Specific programmes aimed at people with special training needs, or experiencing difficulties entering the labour market or overcoming skill barriers.

Employment


Training actions with recruitment commitment.


Training actions primarily aimed at the unemployed.


Placements in companies.


Work-linked training

Training and learning contract (Dual vocational training: Training activity of this contract).


Public employment and training programmes:

  • Workshop-schools and trade training centres
  • Employment workshops

PREPARA Programme



Provision of liberal (popular) adult education1

Educational provision

Local


Training provision


Training for employment provision


Cultural provision


Other types of publicly subsidised provision for adult learners2

Demand training

On-the-job training actions

 

Employment


Individual training plans


Supply training

Training programmes aimed primarily at employed workers


Training actions for public officials


1Some of the educational and training activities included in this type of provision contribute to raising achievement in basic skills.

2Although these actions are aimed primarily at employed workers, unemployed people may also participate in some of them.

Source: Drawn up by Eurydice Spain-Spanish Network for Information on Education (National Centre for Educational Innovation and Research, Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport).

Provision to raise achievement in basic skills

Provision aiming to raise achievement in basic skills as well as foreign language skills is mainly offered by the education authorities, although there also training activities with the same objectives in the field of popular adult education. For detailed information on these training activities, see section Provision of liberal (popular) adult education.  

The education authorities provide an opportunity to study basic education for adults, which comprises initial education, secondary education for adults, vocational secondary education for adults (basic vocational training) and language education.

Basic education for adults

Basic education for adults is aimed at young people and adults who left the education system without any qualification, and focuses on the acquisition of basic education skills and knowledge.

All the Autonomous Communities differentiate between initial education and secondary education for adults.

Initial education

Initial education is aimed at people who do not master basic instrumental techniques. 

  • Admission requirements: Students must be over 18 and, exceptionally, over 16 if they have a work contract or they are high-performance sportspeople. In order to have access to this type of provision, a compulsory initial assessment of the student is carried out, gathering his/her prior knowledge, expectations and interests and proceed to his/her guidance and placement in the most appropriate level.
  • Organisation: In most Autonomous Communities, initial education is structured into two levels: Level 1 or Literacy, which enables adults to acquire literacy and numeracy skills, and Level 2 or Consolidation of Knowledge and Instrumental Techniques, which provides access to secondary education for adults and fosters their active participation in social, cultural, political and economic life. The contents taught are normally organised in fields (Scientific-Technological, Communication and Social) or knowledge areas (Language, Mathematics and Social and Natural Sciences), although in some Autonomous Communities the contents of Level 1 are organised comprehensively. They may also introduce adults to foreign languages. In addition to the time devoted to curricular contents, all education authorities include a number of hours for guidance and tutorials for aspects related to training and employment integration. 
  • Teaching methods: It normally consists of provision requiring attendance, although some Autonomous Communities offer distance learning provision. Although, as a general rule, each level corresponds to an academic year, its duration is characterised by flexibility and may vary according to the needs and learning pace of the students. 
  • Assessment: It is personalised, integrative and takes into account the characteristics of students. Its continuous and educational character is reflected in the adoption of reinforcement or educational support measures and, where appropriate, curricular adaptation, if the progress of the student is not adequate.  
  • Certification: Students who successfully complete initial education receive a certificate. If the levels are not passed, the Autonomous Communities establish the possibility of obtaining a certificate in which the work done is specified.

Secondary education for adults

Secondary education for adults is intended to help them obtain the Lower Compulsory Secondary Education Certificate. It also seeks to facilitate the acquisition of the basic skills that are necessary to foster their personal development and promote their social integration, continuation of their studies and their integration into the labour market or promotion. 

  • Admission requirements: Students must be over 18 and, exceptionally, over 16 if they have a work contract or they are high-performance sportspeople. In addition, they have to meet any of the following requirements: having completed the 6th year of primary education or its equivalent, having passed Level 2 or Consolidation of Knowledge and Instrumental Techniques of initial education, or having achieved the objectives of these levels in the initial assessment. In order to have access to this type of provision, a compulsory initial assessment of the student is also carried out. The result is reflected in the academic record, but does not entitle the student to any right. Each Autonomous Community establishes the aspects to be assessed, whereas teachers, the Pedagogical Coordination Commission or the Counselling Department are responsible for the design of the assessment process.
  • Organisation: It is organised into three areas: Communication (basic aspects of the curriculum for compulsory secondary education relating to the subjects of Spanish Language and Literature, the first foreign language, and, if applicable, the relevant co-official language and its literature), Social (including aspects relating to Social Sciences, Geography and History, Citizenship Education and Human Rights, as well as those concerning perception in the curriculum of both Plastic and Visual Education and Music), and Scientific-Technological (including aspects relating to Natural Sciences, Mathematics, Technology, as well as those concerning health and the environment in the curriculum of Physical Education). The education authorities may introduce other aspects relating to the remaining subjects of compulsory secondary education. These areas are normally organised into two levels comprising a series of modules, although some Autonomous Communities organise levels into sections. The guiding and counselling role is included in the actual teaching/learning process in an integrated way, as part of the teaching. 
  • Teaching methods: In most Autonomous Communities, this type of provision is organised in such a way that it can be completed in two academic years. However, the modular system provides greater flexibility of access and choice of the learning pace, and offers the possibility of taking the modules independently. In order to help adults combine their personal, family and working life with study, provision can be classroom-based or distance and, in the case of some Autonomous Communities, partially distance. 
  • Assessment: It is considered as a continuous process. In most Autonomous Communities, it is differentiated according to modules or areas, although attention is paid to its global character as well as to its comprehensive approach to knowledge. It is important that it is personalised, integrative and that it takes into account the characteristics of students.
  • Certification: Students who successfully complete secondary education for adults are awarded the Lower Compulsory Secondary Education Certificate.
  • The education authorities organise examinations on a regular basis so that people over 18 can obtain this certificate directly, without having taken the relevant courses previously. The examinations are based on the three knowledge areas into which this type of provision is organised. In addition, the education authorities have to ensure equal opportunities, non-discrimination and universal accessibility for people with disabilities who sit these examinations.

Vocational secondary education for adults

In accordance with the 2013 Act on the Improvement of the Quality of Education, the education authorities may establish training programmes leading to the award of the Basic Vocational Training Certificate for those aged over 17. In the 2014/15 academic year, some Autonomous Communities have already started to implement these programmes.

Basic vocational training 

As it has only recently been implemented by the education authorities, the following can be highlighted:

  • Admission requirements: Students aged over 17 who do not hold a vocational training certificate or any other certificate proving completion of full secondary education may have access to this type of provision.
  • Organisation: Basic vocational training cycles involve two years of full-time study. They are classroom-based and take place in adult education institutions.
  • Certification: Students who successfully complete a basic vocational training cycle are awarded the Basic Vocational Training Certificate. In addition, those aged over 22 who have accredited the relevant basic vocational training professional competences, through either Level 1 certificates of professional experience or the established evaluation and accreditation procedure, are also awarded the Basic Vocational Training Certificate by the education authorities.
  • The education authorities periodically organise examinations to obtain this certificate. In order to sit them, candidates must be at least 18. The education authorities have to ensure equal opportunities, non-discrimination and universal accessibility for people with disabilities who sit these examinations.

The 1st year of this new type of provision of vocational training of the education system has been implemented this academic year 2014/15. For detailed information on the new basic vocational training, see article Vocational lower secondary education: Basic vocational training cycles.

Language education

Language education is organised into three levels: basic, intermediate and advanced. The skills of the different levels correspond to levels A2, B1 and B2 of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages respectively. In order to have access to official language education, students must be 16 years of age and, exceptionally, 14 in the case of a language other than the one studied in compulsory secondary education. Provision can be classroom-based or distance, through the ‘That’s English!’ Programme. Students who successfully complete the different levels of language education are awarded the relevant certificate.

In addition, the education authorities, through Official Language Schools, regularly organise tests for adults who wish to obtain a language certificate without completing the corresponding course. These tests are organised in accordance with the objectives, skills and evaluation criteria established for each level in the curricula of the different languages.

Provision to achieve a recognised qualification during adulthood

The education authorities offer Bachillerato and vocational training for adults, thus allowing them to achieve an official qualification that proves the development and consolidation of basic skills, the consolidation of those skills of a more cross-cutting nature that encourage continuing learning and their integration into a specific field, or the acquisition of professional competences. 

In addition, the education authorities periodically organise examinations for adults to obtain these qualifications without having to complete the corresponding studies, as well as examinations for adults to have access to these types of provision.

The 2006 Education Act and the 2013 Act on the Improvement of the Quality of Education, modifying it, are the basic rules currently governing the educational provision for adults of the Spanish education system. The new Act was published in the Spanish Official Gazette of 10/12/2013 and began to be implemented this academic year 2014/15.

Post-compulsory and higher education

There is also the possibility for adults to have access to Bachillerato and vocational training. The education authorities take the necessary steps to ensure the provision of post-compulsory education for adults and organise public distance education, which must include the use of information and communication technologies.

Bachillerato

Bachillerato for adults has been regulated in all Autonomous Communities, either by means of specific legislation or legislation that applies to mainstream Bachillerato. 

  • Admission requirements: The academic requirements for access to Bachillerato for adults are the same as those for mainstream Bachillerato: hold the Lower Compulsory Secondary Education Certificate. Age requirements are also the same as the ones already mentioned: be over 18 and, exceptionally, over 16 if they have a work contract or they are high-performance sportspeople.
  • Organisation: Within provision requiring attendance, two organisational models can be distinguished: Model A, in which the subjects for each branch are distributed and grouped in three blocks, each of which is taught within an academic year; and Model B, whose organisation is the same as the one established for mainstream provision. For detailed information, see article Teaching and learning in general upper secondary education
  • Teaching methods: The Autonomous Communities set, within their area of management, the maximum number of teaching hours per week, the number of weekly hours devoted to each subject and the teaching timetable, which varies depending on the organisational model. In the case of classroom-based provision, schedules which facilitate greater student attendance can be offered. The organisation of distance Bachillerato is the same as the one established for mainstream provision: two academic years. Students can take any number of subjects from the first and second year, according to their possibilities and time availability, and respecting the rules of precedence and incompatibility between subjects. In this delivery mode, tutorial support is optional and can be classroom-based or distance. 
  • Assessment: It is continuous and differentiated for each subject. Distance provision takes into account the submission and appropriateness of tasks, participation in the proposed thematic forums, if applicable, as well as any other element included in the teaching plans. Both in classroom-based and distance provision, students are required to pass classroom examinations. As a general rule, three quarterly written examinations and two final examinations are established for each subject: an ordinary examination session at the end of the third quarter, normally in June, and a supplementary examination session, generally in September. 
  • Certification: Bachillerato for adults has the same academic validity as mainstream Bachillerato and therefore leads to the award of the Bachillerato certificate.

Vocational training

Vocational training allows students to receive training and work or carry out other activities at the same time. This is why it is offered on a full-time, part-time or modular basis.

  • Admission requirements: Access to part-time provision of the training modules is governed by the academic and age requirements established generally. In order to have access to intermediate vocational training, students must hold the Lower Compulsory Secondary Education Certificate or its equivalent, have completed an Initial Vocational Qualification Programme, or hold a basic vocational training certificate. Those who do not comply with these conditions may sit an entrance examination regulated by the education authorities. In order to have access to advanced vocational training cycles, students have to meet one of the following requirements: hold a Technician certificate and have completed a specific training course at an authorised public or private institution, have passed the entrance examination for advanced vocational training cycles, or the university entrance examination for students over 25.
  • Organisation: In full-time provision, all the modules of a course have to be taken, whereas, in part-time provision, modules can be taken independently. In both cases, as well as in those vocational modules where it is possible, provision can be classroom-based, partially distance or distance. 
  • Teaching methods: They include the scientific, technological and organisational aspects that are necessary to gain a global vision of the relevant professional activity. In addition, they are flexible and open, and based on self-learning. Distance provision facilitates students’ autonomy through the use of information and communication technologies. Teachers have a personal relationship with students and are in permanent contact with them. Finally, students have the support of a tutor who offers guidance and advice.
  • Assessment: Assessment is through modules, taking into account the objectives and evaluation criteria of the vocational modules, as well as the general objectives of the training cycle. In distance provision, in the final assessment of the vocational modules, which is completed by continuous assessment processes, students are required to pass classroom examinations. The Autonomous Communities are responsible for defining the assessment criteria. 
  • Certification: Vocational training for adults has the same academic validity as mainstream vocational training, so students who successfully complete this type of provision are awarded the Technician or Advanced Technician certificate in the relevant profession. Those who do not pass a training cycle receive a certificate for the competence units of the vocational modules passed. This certificate provides partial accreditation of the professional competences acquired in relation to the National System of Qualifications and Vocational Training (for detailed information on the National System of Qualifications and Vocational Training, see article Lifelong Learning Strategy).

University education

There are not specific programmes for adults. However, part-time provision, for which the number of credits varies across universities, enables them to take university higher education studies.

In addition, they can study for a university degree programme by distance learning. In the case of public universities, this is mainly offered by the National University of Distance Education, although the rest of universities may also offer distance Bachelor and Master’s degree programmes.

Entrance examinations, tests to obtain a language certificate and examinations to achieve a qualification

The education authorities periodically organise different types of examinations for adults to have access to studies leading to the award of a qualification, obtain a language certificate or achieve an official qualification.

Adults have the opportunity to sit the entrance examinations to have access to studies leading to the award of an official qualification: entrance examinations for intermediate and advanced vocational training, advanced artistic education and university education. These examinations have been established for candidates who do not meet the academic requirements. A minimum age is required in order to sit them. 

  • Entrance examinations for intermediate vocational training cycles: Candidates must be or turn 17 in the year the examination is taken. The examination proves sufficient knowledge and skills to have access to intermediate vocational training.
  • Entrance examinations for advanced vocational training cycles: Candidates must be at least 19 in the year the examination is taken, or 18 if they hold a Technician certificate related to the training cycle they want to take. The examination proves that candidates have the necessary maturity in relation to the objectives of Bachillerato, as well as the skills regarding the professional field concerned. The education authorities may organise and offer courses for those holding the Technician certificate to prepare these examinations. 
  • Entrance examinations for advanced artistic education: Students over 19 may sit this examination, which proves that candidates have the necessary maturity in relation to the objectives of Bachillerato, as well as the knowledge, skills and abilities to successfully complete this type of provision.
  • Entrance examinations for university education: The regulations on the admission requirements for official Bachelor programmes have established three types of access, according to age criteria and work experience: an entrance examination for people over 25, access through the accreditation of professional or work experience for those over 40, and an entrance examination for people over 45 who lack qualifications and professional and work experience. Universities have to reserve a number of places, not lower than 2%, for those students who have passed the university entrance examination for people over 25. In the case of students who have passed the entrance examination for people over 45 or those who accredit professional or work experience, universities must reserve, as a whole, a number of places not lower than 1% or higher than 3%. For detailed information on these three types of university entrance examinations, see section University entrance examination.

In addition, the education authorities, through Official Language Schools, regularly organise tests for adults who wish to obtain a language certificate without completing the corresponding course. These tests are organised in accordance with the objectives, skills and evaluation criteria established for each level in the curricula of the different languages.

Finally, examinations for adults to obtain an official qualification without having to complete the corresponding studies are also organised. These examinations correspond to compulsory secondary education, Bachillerato and basic, intermediate and advanced vocational training:

  • For detailed information on the examinations to obtain the Lower Compulsory Secondary Education Certificate and a basic vocational training certificate, see section Provision to raise achievement in basic skills.
  • Examinations to obtain the Bachillerato certificate: Adults may obtain the Bachillerato certificate by sitting these examinations provided they have achieved the general objectives established for this type of provision. The examinations are organised differently according to the Bachillerato branches. In order to sit them, students must be 20 years of age. In addition, the education authorities have to ensure equal opportunities, non-discrimination and universal accessibility for people with disabilities who sit these examinations.
  • Examinations to obtain intermediate and advanced vocational training certificates: In order to sit these examinations, students must be 18 for the Technician certificate, 20 for the Advanced Technician certificate, or 19 if the hold the Technician certificate. Students in either classroom-based or distance part-time provision who have taken vocational modules associated with competence units may sit these examinations in order to retake the vocational modules that they have not passed. In addition, the education authorities have to ensure equal opportunities, non-discrimination and universal accessibility for people with disabilities who sit these examinations.

Provision targeting the transition to the labour market

The employment authorities organise a wide range of training actions aimed at the unemployed with the aim of improving their employability and facilitating their integration into the labour market.

This provision is integrated in the system of vocational training for employment, which includes other actions aimed primarily at employed workers. Unemployed people may also participate in some of these actions. For detailed information on training aimed at employed workers, see section Other types of publicly subsidised provision for adult learners.

In March 2015, the reform of the system of vocational training for employment was approved so that it responds to the needs of the labour market and that is aimed at improving the employability of workers, their abilities and professional competences, as well as business competitiveness, in order to contribute to the recovery of the Spanish economy. For detailed information on this reform, see article National reforms related to transversal skills and employability.

Training provision within vocational training for employment

The actions and initiatives within vocational training for employment aimed primarily at the unemployed are the following:

Supply training

It consists of training plans or programmes aimed at employed workers, people with special training needs or experiencing difficulties entering the labour market, people who are deprived of their freedom, military personnel whose employment relationship with the Armed Forces is temporary, the unemployed and migrant workers. The Ministry of Employment and Social Security carries out a multi-annual planning of this training provision, taking into account the proposals of the Autonomous Communities. Based on this planning, the employment authorities organise the training provision within their area of management by offering aid and subsidies to the different bodies in charge of providing the training to the target groups (trade unions and business organisations, companies, etc.).

Supply training actions aimed at the unemployed include:

  1. Training actions with recruitment commitment: The management of this initiative is provided at the State and regional levels, by subsidising training actions with recruitment commitment by the subsidised body of, at least, 60% of the trainees.
  2. Training plans primarily aimed at the unemployed: The employment authorities, both State and regional, draw up these plans taking into account existing employment opportunities in the labour market as well as the training needs of the unemployed. The State Public Employment Service and the employment services of the Autonomous Communities are the bodies in charge of drawing up, managing and evaluating such plans.
  3. Training programmes for specific groups: The State Public Employment Service and the employment services of the Autonomous Communities may draw up programmes aimed at improving the employability of people with special needs or who have difficulties finding a job. Since 2011, the State Public Employment Service has implemented specific State programmes for the improvement of the employability, qualification and professional integration of young people under 30. This Programme was established with the aim of equipping young people with those skills required by companies, which, at the same time, might contribute to consolidate their careers or facilitate an initial professional experience. The aim of the call for 2014 is to provide participants with those skills that enable them to adapt to the requirements of the productive system, specifically in the case of occupations corresponding to certificates of professional experience. For detailed information on this specific Programme, see section Specific State Programme for the Improvement of Employability, Qualification and Professional Integration of Young People Under 30.
  4. Placements in companies: They are aimed at unemployed young people aged 18-25 who are professionally qualified in the education or the employment field, but have limited or no work experience. They may last between three and nine months and are delivered in the workplace and under the guidance and supervision of a tutor. Participants receive a grant from the company or business groups where they complete their placement equivalent to, at least, 80% of the monthly public revenue index in effect at the time.

Work-linked training

Training aimed at the acquisition of professional competences through a mixed process of employment and training which combines formal learning with professional practice.

These training actions include training and learning contracts, and workshop-schools, trade training centres and employment workshops:

  • Training and learning contracts

The training and learning contract was developed in November 2012, a measure that was adopted in the labour reform approved in February of the same year. Its aim is to professionally qualify people through work-linked training schemes which combine work with training. In the case of companies hiring unemployed people, the employer’s Social Security contributions are reduced.

The professional qualification acquired, which must be related to the job performed by the worker, is accredited through a procedure for the evaluation and accreditation of professional competences acquired through work experience or non-formal training, enabling partial accreditation of the training leading to the award of the relevant certificate of professional experience or vocational qualification.

The latest legislative development establishes that: 

  • Workers aged over 16 and under 25 (and those aged under 30 until the unemployment rate drops below 15%) are eligible. The maximum age limit (25 years old) does not apply in the case of disabled or socially excluded people. In any case, workers must not have a professional qualification recognised by vocational training for employment or the education system and required in order to start a traineeship in the position or occupation referred to in the contract. Workers taking vocational training courses (of the education system) at the time of the conclusion of the contract are also eligible.
  • These contracts cannot be part-time. The actual working time must be compatible with the time devoted to training activities, which shall not exceed 75% during the first year, and 85% during the second and third years, of the maximum working day established. 
  • The minimum and maximum duration of the contract is 1 and 3 years respectively, although collective agreements may establish a different duration which may not be shorter than 6 months or longer than 3 years. In the case of disabled people, they may apply for an extension of the maximum duration. If the maximum duration of the contract is shorter than 3 years, it can be extended twice. However, each extension may not be shorter than 6 months and the total duration of the contract cannot exceed 3 years. 
  • They will be automatically renewed as employment contracts for an indefinite period if the person continues providing his/her services once their maximum duration has been reached. 
  • The number of contracts per worker and the maximum number of contracts per company are not limited. In fact, the company may request a certification of the worker’s previous contracts, as well as the work carried out or the professional qualification related to each contract, from the relevant public employment service. 
  • The company may take into account, for the purpose of calculating, the periods during which the person concerned was employed under training contracts.
  • The training activity of this contract is required in order to obtain an intermediate or advanced vocational training qualification or a certificate of professional experience or, if appropriate, for academic certification or partial accreditation purposes. It has to be organised in accordance with the regulations governing each certificate of professional experience or training cycle. It can also include additional training related to the needs of the company or the worker, which will not be considered as effective work and must be authorised by the relevant public employment service.

The training activity of the training and learning contract is considered as dual vocational training, whose foundations were regulated in early November 2012 and in December 2013. The characteristics of this training activity are the following: 

  • The company provides the beneficiary with a job that is related to the professional profile of the vocational training qualification or the certificate of professional experience. In addition, it verifies that there is a training activity related to that job which corresponds to a vocational training qualification or a certificate of professional experience, and ensures he/she attends the training programmes established for the training activity.
  • The owner of the company or a designated person is responsible for the monitoring of the agreement for the training activity, coordination of the training activity and the job, and communication with the training institution. Finally, on completion of the activity, he/she produces a report on the work carried out. 
  • The worker must meet the access requirements established in order to receive the training. 
  • The training institution appoints a tutor who is responsible for the planning and monitoring of the training, coordination of the evaluation and communication with the company for the development of the activity. 
  • The worker is exempt from the practical training module included in the certificates of professional experience or the work placement module of vocational training qualifications. The duration of the contract and subsequent extensions is taken into account in both cases.

Participating companies sign an agreement with both the training institution and the worker, which is annexed to his/her contract. Those responsible for the training, the training needs of the company and the worker, as well as the characteristics and contents of the training are specified in the agreement.

It is the responsibility of public employment services, in collaboration with the education authorities, to provide information and guidance to companies and workers on employment and training possibilities, as well as on the match between the characteristics of the job offered by the company and the training institutions that are available to provide the relevant training.

The training activity of this contract has to be previously authorised by the relevant public employment service, which is in charge of its monitoring and evaluation. If the company signs contracts in more than one Autonomous Community, the authorisation and evaluation of the activity is the responsibility of the State Public Employment Service.

The authorisation is communicated by the public employment services of the Autonomous Communities to the State Public Employment Service in order to control the application of the corresponding bonuses.

The activity takes place within the framework of vocational training for employment or vocational training of the education system, in any of its forms. In the case of vocational training of the education system, it will be provided by institutions designated by the relevant education authority and communicated to the public employment service; as for vocational training for employment, by accredited institutions. Training can also be provided by the company if it has the facilities and adequately trained staff so that the professional competence or qualification can be accredited, without prejudice to the periods of additional training undertaken by the worker at the designated institutions. In this case, the company must be authorised to provide such training and training contents must be validated by the State Public Employment Service.

The training activity must respect the duration of the related training established for the different vocational modules comprised in vocational training qualifications or the certificates of professional experience. In any case, training takes place during the contract period.

Training activities may include additional training which is not related to the National Catalogue of Vocational Qualifications in order to adapt to the needs of both workers and companies.

  • Workshop-schools, trade training centres and employment workshops

They are employment and training programmes where unemployed people receive training combined with work (a real project or service), in order to provide them with a professional qualification which facilitates their access to the world of work. In employment workshops, when selecting candidates, preference is given to those aged over 45.

PREPARA Programme

Programme for the professional requalification of people who exhausted entitlement to employment benefit. Within the framework of this programme, they are entitled to participate in active employment policies measures for the requalification and/or reintegration of unemployed workers, as well as to financial support up to six months while they take part in the training actions.

Training support and accompanying actions

Actions designed to improve the effectiveness of the subsystem of vocational training for employment, such as general and sectoral studies, and research and information and professional guidance actions.

Depending on the specific target group, training actions and plans are aimed at employed and unemployed workers:

Training actions and programmes included in vocational training for employment, according to target group


Training provision by employment authorities
Target group
Supply training

Training plans primarily aimed at employed workers.

 

Primarily employed workers.

Unemployed people may also participate.

Specific programmes aimed at people with special training needs, experiencing difficulties entering the labour market or overcoming skill barriers, or young people under 30.
Employed or unemployed people with special training needs, experiencing difficulties entering the labour market or overcoming skill barriers, informal carers with dependents, and young people under 30.
Training actions with recruitment commitment1.
Primarily unemployed people and immigrant workers in their countries of origin.
Training actions primarily aimed at the unemployed.
Primarily unemployed workers, although employed workers may also participate.
Placements in companies.
Unemployed people aged 18-25.
Other initiatives.
People who are deprived of their freedom and Army and Navy military personnel.
Work-linked training
Training and learning contract (Dual vocational training: Training activity of this contract).
Young people aged 16-25 (the age is extended to 30 until the unemployment rate drops below 15%) whose professional qualifications are not recognised by the vocational training for employment system or the education system. For detailed information on dual vocational training linked to this contract, see article National reforms related to transversal skills and employability.

Public employment and training programmes:

  • Workshop-schools and trade training centres
  • Employment workshops
Unemployed people aged 16-25 (workshop-schools and trade training centres) or 25 or over (employment workshops).
PREPARA Programme

Unemployed people who have exhausted entitlement to employment benefit and who are not receiving any other benefit.

1Training actions financed by the employment authorities and adapted to the needs of businesses. Companies that benefit from this type of training actions enter into the commitment of hiring at least 60% of the students trained.

Source: Drawn up by Eurydice Spain-Spanish Network for Information on Education (National Centre for Educational Innovation and Research, Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport).

General characteristics of vocational training for employment 

  • Target groups: Vocational training for employment is aimed at employed and unemployed workers. Priority is given to people having greater difficulties for inclusion and remaining in the labour market, such as the long-term unemployed, women, people over 45, low-skilled workers, immigrants and disabled people, among others.
  • Organisation: Training actions are structured into several training modules with their own objectives, contents and duration. When it comes to training not linked to the award of certificates of professional experience, the duration of each training action or module depends on the purpose, the target group, the delivery mode, the number of students and other objective criteria, but shall not be less than six teaching hours. As for cross-sectoral training in areas which are considered a priority by the relevant employment authority, the duration may be less. In total, the participation of a worker in training actions shall not exceed eight hours per day. In the case of students participating in workshop-schools, trade training centres or employment workshops who have not achieved the objectives of compulsory secondary education, specific programmes in order to provide them with basic and professional training which enables them to participate in working life or continue their studies are organised.
  • Teaching methods: Training can be classroom-based, distance, e-learning or mixed. Provision requiring attendance is organised into groups with a maximum of 25 participants. In distance provision, either traditional or e-learning, there is, at least, one tutor for every 80 participants. The employment authorities may establish, within their area of management, a smaller number of participants.
  • Assessment: Assessment, which is systematic and continuous, is through modules and, where appropriate, training units, in order to establish the learning outcomes and the acquisition of professional competences. It is carried out by trainers, who take the skills and evaluation criteria set for each training module as a reference. They draw up an evaluation report which includes the results obtained by the student and indicate whether he/she has acquired the skills of the training modules and, therefore, the professional competence of the competence units they are linked to.
  • Certification:
  1. Accreditation of competence units: It requires a pass grade in the training modules linked to each of the competence units.
  2. Certificates of professional experience: They are issued on successful completion of the training modules corresponding to the competence units into which they are structured. In exceptional circumstances, and when the professional profile so requires, the certificate of professional experience may include less units than the ones defined in the reference vocational qualification of the National Catalogue of Vocational Qualifications. In any case, the competence unit is the minimum unit that can be accredited in order to obtain a certificate of professional experience.
  3. Training not linked to certificates of professional experience: Participants completing the training action are awarded a certificate of attendance and those being positively evaluated receive a diploma. The skills acquired through this training can be fully or partly recognised through certificates of professional experience, depending on the procedure and requirements for the evaluation and accreditation of skills acquired through work experience or non-formal training.

The State Public Employment Service and regional employment services are responsible for issuing the certificates of professional experience and partial accreditations. The certificates of professional experience issued by such bodies are official and valid throughout the country.

Provision of liberal (popular) adult education

In Spain, popular education is provided by popular universities. These institutions constitute adult education and cultural development projects whose objective is to promote social participation, education, training and culture in order to improve the quality of life of people and the community.

Popular universities originated at the beginning of the 20th century, although their current configuration was established during the 1980s. The Spanish Federation of Popular Universities, representing most of such institutions, was set up in 1982.

Objectives of popular universities

In the absence of legislation on the functioning of popular universities, the Spanish Federation of Popular Universities establishes a series of objectives:

  • Raise awareness, encourage and facilitate access to educational, training and cultural goods and services for all citizens who so wish.
  • Enhance personal and collective development of participants, encouraging the development of basic skills, the acquisition and updating of knowledge, creative expression, coexistence and tolerance.
  • Promote the integral development of people by including in training and awareness-raising processes cross-cutting issues that have a significant impact on the development of people and communities, such as the gender perspective, education for peace, health and environment, etc.
  • Encourage social, cultural, political and economic participation for social cohesion.
  • Develop training for employment processes facilitating integration into the labour market, as well as adaptation to technological, productive and organisational changes.
  • Encourage cultural productions by people and groups in popular universities, as well as their dissemination as a fundamental element of the cultural development of the locality.
  • Promote social integration through education and training by carrying out specific programmes with the most disadvantaged groups, in order to facilitate access to social and cultural goods on equal terms.
  • Facilitate access and use of information and communication technologies for improved development in the environment, avoiding the dangers of exclusion.

Field of action and funding

The field of action of popular universities are municipalities, and their management can be the responsibility of various actors: local governments, municipal corporations, boards, etc.

They are mainly financed by local governments, although they may receive funding from other public or private sources, and they also collect funds from the registration of participants. 

Training provision and target groups

The provision of popular universities is aimed at the adult population in general, although they try to adapt it to some socially disadvantaged groups, such as women, young people, senior citizens, immigrants or those who have to adapt to the labour market.

Although it is very diverse and varies from one institution to the other, provision can be grouped into four main categories:

  • Educational provision: Courses related to the different types of provision of the education system. They may comprise activities to improve reading and writing skills, or courses to prepare for compulsory secondary education or Bachillerato or for university entrance examinations for people aged over 25 and over 45. For detailed information on these university entrance examinations, see section University entrance examination, and for detailed information on its reform, see section Reform of the procedures for admission to official Bachelor degree programmes for people aged over 25 and over 45.
  • Training provision: This area includes a broad range of programmes for the all-round training of the individual. They might be specific training programmes, related to practical knowledge for personal or social life, such as computing, accounting, languages, etc., or general training programmes for the development of personal and social skills, such as musical training, philosophy, history or art courses, photography workshops, etc.
  • Training for employment provision: All-round training focused on personal and social development as well as on training for the practice of a profession. It comprises vocational and occupational training activities, activities for the development of basic personal and social skill and training in job searching techniques.
  • Cultural provision: This type of provision includes activities such as leisure workshops, creative and cultural activities, activities related to local traditions, etc.

Due to their non-formal nature, popular universities do not issue certificates when learners complete the training activities.

Other types of publicly subsidised provision for adult learners

This section describes the training actions included in the vocational training for employment programme that are aimed primarily at employed workers.

This training provision is organised by employment authorities and divided into three types of training: demand training, supply training and training for public officials.

Demand training: It responds to the specific training needs expressed by companies or their employees and comprises two types of actions:

  1. On-the-job training actions: They are training actions planned and implemented by companies for their employees.
  2. Individual training leaves: Workers may request an authorisation to undertake officially accredited training actions.

Although this type of provision is aimed primarily at the employees of the organising company, unemployed people may also participate, provided they are employed under fixed-discontinuous contracts but not employed at that time, they become unemployed during the training activity, or their contracts have been temporarily suspended.

Supply training: It consists of training plans or programmes aimed at employed workers, people with special training needs or experiencing difficulties entering the labour market, people who are deprived of their freedom, military personnel whose employment relationship with the Armed Forces is temporary, the unemployed and migrant workers.

The Ministry of Employment and Social Security carries out a multi-annual planning of this training provision, taking into account the proposals of the Autonomous Communities. Based on this planning, the employment authorities organise the training provision within their area of management by offering aid and subsidies to the different bodies in charge of providing the training to the target groups (trade unions and business organisations, companies, etc.).

The aim of the training provision for employed workers is to provide them with training that addresses the companies’ requirements for productivity and competitiveness, meets the needs of adaptation to changes in the productive system, and provides them with career development opportunities and possibilities of personal development, so that they become qualified to exercise the different professions and improve their employability.

There are two types of training plans primarily aimed at employed workers:

  • Cross-sectoral plans, which are focused on the acquisition of transversal skills from various sectors of the economic activity, or the learning of the specific skills of a sector.
  • Sectoral plans, which are aimed at the training of workers from a specific productive sector.

Training actions for public officials: They are managed by the National Institute for Public Administration and address issues such as managerial skills, public management skills, information and communication technologies and foreign and co-official languages, among others.