In Hungary, practical training can be pursued in the school workshop, or at the enterprise or other organization entitled to pursue practical training. Practical training is an apprenticeship necessary to obtain a certificate in a defined work area, in a defined job, the duration of which is specified in the base document of the training. In order to strengthen the dual character of vocational education and training, a basic principle is to learn a trade embedded in work activities.
Vocational education and training within the school system besides the provisions of the vocational and examination requirements is based on the vocational training framework syllabus issued for the given school type and qualification. The enterprise has to organize practical training by taking the aforementioned documents into consideration.
In the school system students cannot enroll to partial qualifications, except the students who learn the partial qualification in the “Híd” (Bridge) II. program (from September 1st “Híd” program for VET) or in a school for students with special needs.
Practical training consists of the practical training to be performed during the school year and an uninterrupted practical training outside of the school year, i.e. in vocational training within the school system practical training – except for the uninterrupted practical training and the makeup for the missed uninterrupted practical training – can be organized only during the months of the school year. During the autumn, winter and spring break no practical training can be organized, except for making up for missed practical training sessions without substantiate reason.
The institutional system of the apprenticeship contracts was regulated in such details in the Act on vocational education and training in 1993, which was unseen before. Since then, the conditions and contents, its operation has changed several times, in accordance with the needs indicated by the chamber. Due to these changes, it has become one of the core elements of dual vocational training by 2012. In the past 20 years the number of apprenticeship contracts signifying the essence of dual vocational training increased by 8 times, which can be regarded as a success story in the process of Hungarian VET development.
Forms of practical training in dual vocational training in Hungary
The student can participate in practical training in the following forms:
- based on an apprenticeship contract, or
- based on an agreement for cooperation, or
- in the training workshop of the school with Dual Training in the World of Work.
An apprenticeship contract can be concluded with an enterprise or other organization from the start of the first vocational training year for the sake of preparation for a qualification recognized by the state. The concluded contract is valid when it is countersigned by the chamber, and enters into effect on the date provided. Apprenticeship contracts countersigned by the chamber are registered by the chamber in charge of the given geographical area. The work of the chamber is assisted by a national online IT system (the Internet-based Integrated VET Information System, ISZIIR). In case the enterprise or other organization concluding the contract does not have all the necessary requirements concerning personnel and assets, they have the right to involve another organization entitled to pursue practical training.
An apprenticeship contract can be concluded with a student, who:
- participates in school-based vocational education in an institution of general education with a registered seat in Hungary, within the framework of school education, for the purpose of preparation for a first or second qualification recognized by the state, entitled to state budget subsidization,
- meets the health care and vocational aptitude requirements set forth for the given qualification in legislation.
An apprenticeship contract can be concluded effective from the start of the first vocational year of the given training with the organization, which is in the certified public records of organizations entitled to pursue practical training. The records are maintained by the economic chamber. Those enterprises or other organizations can be included in the records, which meet the personnel and asset requirements set forth in legislation and apply the compulsory vocational training framework curricula issued for the given qualification.
The apprenticeship contract can be concluded for the total remaining time of the training, and it is terminated in cases specified by the Act of vocational education and training. The most frequent cause is when the student successfully completes the final vocational year and passes the vocational examination. In case of other organizations, the precondition of concluding an apprenticeship contract is that the qualification must belong to the circle of qualifications specified in the Act on vocational education and training (Health care, Health care technology, Welfare, Teaching, Arts and applied arts, Voice, fi lm and theatre technique, or in the scope of the Minister of Defence).
During the school year, in vocational school training the student in 9th grade can perform practical training either in the school workshop, or may conclude an apprenticeship contract with a practical training provider, which is registered by the chamber as a training workshop pursuing practical training only.
In the 10th and 11th grades an apprenticeship contract can only be concluded with a training provider specified above until the student has passed the level examination, unless he/she has a baccalaureate.
Models and stakeholders in dual vocational education and training
An apprenticeship contract can be concluded in vocational training within the framework of adult education following the amendment of the Act on vocational education in 2015. However, in this circle the financing of schools and practical training providers is harmonized (normative subsidies), and in accordance with this and the number of hours of the various working orders the remuneration of students is also differentiated (day courses: 100 per cent, evening courses: 60 per cent, correspondent courses: 20 per cent). Practical training with apprenticeship contract is a dominant form of Hungarian vocational education and training, it is a sensitive indicator, and the essence of training meeting requirements of the economy. In the long run, dual training can only be successful in Hungary, if the number of enterprises and students joining the system increases.
Small and micro enterprises conclude contracts with the highest number of students. In accordance with the government’s concept in 2015, the objectives of the chamber include the increase of the number of apprenticeship contracts to 70 thousand by 2018. This helps economic improvement via VET, and decreases unemployment rate among people starting their careers. The almost 700 thousand enterprises are a huge reserve for the increase of apprenticeship contracts.
In case of practical training within the framework of a cooperation agreement, the organizer of the practical training is the school, which is responsible for the appropriate preparation of the student. The conclusion of the cooperation agreement, compared to the apprenticeship contract, is less likely. This is mainly due to the fact that the legal status of the apprenticeship is a lot more favorable for the student, the organization and the whole economy. An agreement can be concluded in the following cases:
- in case the duration of the practical training is less than 40 percent in the vocational and examination requirements,
- in case the practice is supplementary, for maximum 40 percent of the training duration set forth in the framework curriculum,
- in case the practice is performed at a budgetary organ,
- in case it is concluded for an uninterrupted practical training,
- in case no apprenticeship contract can be concluded.
A cooperation agreement, unlike the apprenticeship contract, can be concluded in grades 9-12 of secondary vocational schools. A significant element of the law amendment in 2015 was that remuneration has to be paid not only for the uninterrupted apprenticeship period of the 13th grade, but for similar periods of the 9-12th grades as well.