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The vocational education and training (VET) programmes dispensed by Technical College Silkeborg are based on the extensive reform, in 1991, of Danish vocational education and training programmes.
The reform resulted in a coherent national system, which both preserves the traditional close ties to trade and industry and provides broadness and flexibility in qualifications by a distinctive strengthening of the theoretical part of the programmes.
VET - Vocational Education and Training
The Danish vocational education and training programmes have three main characteristics:
Another characteristic is the integration of foreign students and training abroad:
The Structure of the VET Programmes:
Programmes Based on the Sandwich Principle
The individual programme is organized as a sandwich course during which periods of theoretical learning and practical training at a vocational college alternate with periods of practical training in a private enterprise or public institution. Only in exceptional cases does all practical training take place at a vocational college. The sandwich principle combining both practice and theory is what gives the Danish vocational education and training system its special and characteristic strength and profile.
The practical training part is normally the longer part of the programme and is organized as employment with a salary on a contract basis in an apprenticeship. The apprentice takes part in the daily routines of the enterprise, initially together with skilled colleagues, then gradually more independently. Normally the apprentice completes the entire training in one enterprise, but sometimes it happens that several enterprises in cooperation form an apprenticeship for a student.
College-based education and training
The college-based education and training periods are spread out evenly during the entire programme, each lasting typically two, five or ten weeks. The number and duration vary from programme to programme. Both specialized and general knowledge are acquired during the programme. Teaching is increasingly based on broad-spectrum interdisciplinary projects that take as their point of departure a practical everyday job situation. Furthermore, teaching programmes and methods aim at a broad development of personality - i.e. key qualifications such as independence, responsibility, quality consciousness and co-operative abilities.
Close Cooperation with the Social Partners
All vocational education and training programmes are organized in close co-operation with the organizations of the labour market. In this way, the programmes will be able to meet the demands of the market at any time. Wishes for new types of qualifications are instantly registered and can quickly be incorporated in the programmes. The built-in dynamism in the system guarantees students good, useful, up-to-date training and education. In addition, representatives of the labour market have a decisive influence on the running of individual vocational colleges.
Other notable characteristics of the system are its coherent nature and its openness. Students enjoy free choice of college and most courses have free admittance. All teaching is free of charge. Normally the individual programme starts at a vocational college, but it might also begin in an enterprise. The students' free choice of college and education is secured by the fact that, from the moment they enter into a contract with an enterprise, they are entitled to a salary which makes them financially independent. In addition, technical colleges offer accommodation in special boarding facilities near the college to students domiciled outside the normal catchment area. Approximately 8,000 students take up this special offer each year.
The different programmes have a broad basis and specialize gradually with constant options. Danish vocational education and training offers a total of approximately 90 programmes including more than 200 specialized lines. Before 1991, there were approximately 300 different basic vocational education and training programmes. The openness of the system is also reflected in constant access to the improvement of the individual's vocational qualifications and professional competence through further (adult) education and training and supplementary courses.
The vocational education and training system plays an important part in connection with the general Danish political goal of Education for Everybody - a goal for industry as well as for social political affairs. To this should be added that students who are physically handicapped or who have learning difficulties are offered special aids, teaching materials and courses, so that they too can follow the training programmes. Approximately 3,000 students take up this special offer each year.
Foreigners and International Cooperation
Vocational education and training is taught in Danish. For that reason a few schools offer introductory courses for speakers of foreign languages. Danish vocational education and training is only offered in Danish, so if you want to be admitted to a vocational programme, you have to speak fairly good Danish. If the school or college in question find that the Danish language proficiency of the applicant is questionable, a test may be given prior to acceptance. For that reason, a few schools offer introductory courses for foreign language speakers.
Many technical and vocational colleges have a tradition for cooperating with colleges abroad. A special PIU scheme (training on placement abroad) makes it possible for Danish VET students to obtain grants to do some or all of their training on placement in a business enterprise or institution in Europe, and many technical and vocational colleges cooperate with colleges in other countries.
Technical College Silkeborg
Kejlstrupvej 87, Entry A
T: +45 8923 4066
Secretariat and Administration:
Bredhøjvej 6, Entry H + I
T: +45 8923 4000
F: +45 8923 4099