More practical, more company, more flexible, more comprehensive and simpler. The Government has already defined how it wants the Vocational Training of the 21st century to be, one of the great bets of the Ministry of Education to improve the training – initial and continuous – of young people and adults and adapt the number of workers in the country to what is considers that they will be the future needs of the Spanish economy: more middle and higher technicians. The VET reform comes with 5,000 million euros under the arm (about 2,000 from European COVID funds) and among its strengths (or so the ministry aspires at least) is the accreditation of skills of three million workers.
25% of the Spanish adult population currently has an intermediate qualification and another 35% a low-level one. These are figures that do not agree with what the labor market requires. Forecasts say that, in four years, Spain will need to have 49% of its jobs filled by employees with an intermediate qualification and only 16% with low qualifications.
The department headed by Isabel Celaá will present this Tuesday in the Council of the Minister the Draft Bill for the Organic Law on the Organization and Integration of Vocational Training, advanced by The country and that in this way begins its process. From there, the text will go to the interested sectors and is open to receiving contributions. Among the main novelties of the new law is a greater role for companies in defining the training of students, with the creation of a tutor in the company who will partially evaluate the acquisition of knowledge by the student, the integration of all VET modalities under the same umbrella to give it coherence, the possibility of taking shorter courses than the current ones or the introduction of something similar to specialization masters.
The new FP is committed to flexibility in its training offer, which will be organized by levels ranging from A to E, according to the document. This is one of the novelties of the reform: it will be allowed to take short courses, of greater or lesser duration, aimed at obtaining a specific competence to improve employability. The idea of Education, explain sources from the Ministry, is to offer alternatives to those who cannot complete a 2,000-hour cycle, but do have 50 for something specific.
Level A courses are the most basic, correspond to “the base offer” and lead to “obtaining a partial accreditation of competence”. The B’s correspond to the completion of an entire module, and may be obtained either by passing this training, or by accumulating A-level courses, and will have the stipulated duration to pass the module in question. Level C corresponds to “various professional modules” that lead to obtaining a Professional Certificate and may require internships in companies.
Grade D corresponds to the current Training Cycles in any of their versions: Basic FP (for students aged 15 and over), Middle Grade (equivalent to Baccalaureate) and Superior (University). In the first two cases, the duration of two years (2,000 hours) is maintained, while in the Superior one they can reach up to three courses. In all three cases, the new law is committed to moving to Dual Vocational Training, which requires a minimum internship in the company of 25% of the total cycle time.
Regarding the curriculum, the training cycles will include the realization of an intermodular project that aspires to have “an integrating nature of knowledge” and that in the FPB it will be done once in the entire cycle and in the middle and higher grade one per year. year with a duration of 25 hours. The offer of studies must also include, in addition to the professional modules in the catalog, an optional part “made up of modules that provide greater flexibility to the configuration and adaptability of the offer, to meet the diversity of the productive reality of the corresponding territory and the personal interests and motivations “of the students, somewhat in line with the configuration of university degrees.
Finally, and this is another of the Government’s great bets, level E corresponds to specialization courses that will grant a Professional Master’s degree, which may be offered both in second-degree secondary education (middle-level training cycles) or upper (upper cycles). These master’s degrees will be modular in nature and will last between 300 and 800 hours (university degrees have between 600 and 1,200 hours). The form of access to these master’s degrees is pending further regulatory development.
One of the novelties is that vocational training for grades C, D and E may be offered by modules (at least one full) “to adapt to personal and work needs and circumstances, as well as the pace of learning.” This on-demand training is reserved for people over 18 years of age and, exceptionally, for “adults with work experience who do not have the conditions established for access to training.”
The draft law also dedicates a section to what it calls the “relationship between vocational training and university education”. Education seeks, as read in this section, to build bridges between both stages to “facilitate the establishment of training itineraries that recognize the training previously acquired in both directions”, that is, that students from both routes switch to the other to complement their training.
Companies will gain presence in the new VET and decision-making capacity regarding training plans. All the offer from level C will have a dual character, explains the Ministry, which implies increasing the load of hours of professional practices in companies and in parallel the role of these in the design of training and the evaluation of students. “The professional training offers will be designed in such a way that the theoretical-practical training is received in the educational center and in the workplace, both centers being jointly responsible, although acting on the basis of a distribution between them of the curricular content”, reads the blueprint.
In this way, the opinion of companies will be heard to try to adjust the training to what they demand. Thus, companies will have a voice when it comes to adapting the programs “to the characteristics of each center and the corresponding companies” and “the organization of the dual practical phase will address the specificities of the productive sectors or companies that demand a differentiated design. by (…) the type of activities to be carried out “. They will also participate in defining, together with the centers, “the distribution of curricular content”.
In this sense, the text of the preliminary draft regulates the figure of the dual company tutor, a figure that will be mandatory in each company that welcomes students (or one for several, if they are small) and that will act as a link between the company and the training center . This tutor will coordinate with the teacher in charge of the center the student’s training plan, will participate in the selection of the student apprentices and will also have to “evaluate the acquisition of learning results.” Education sources clarify that this does not mean that company tutors are going to give the student a grade; they will make a report on the practices. “The final evaluation will be the responsibility of the educational center, taking into account the evaluation of what has been learned in the workplace carried out by the tutor or dual tutor of the company or comparable body”, who may be present in the evaluation session, says the blueprint. This figure of the company tutor currently exists in many companies, but not in all, Education clarifies, that what it does in the new law is to regulate its existence and functions.
For the teaching team of each center, it is still necessary to “carry out the specification of the curriculum”, “validate the training plans” and “assist the student during the preparation and development of the in-company phase”, among other issues.
Another novelty raised by the draft law concerns teachers. Perhaps the main novelty in this section is that the possibility of resorting to something similar to the associate professors of the University is contemplated, professionals who go to training centers to offer very specific training linked to their area of work. “Exceptionally and when so required to cover teaching needs, the competent Administrations in the matter may authorize professionals from the associated productive sector to impart professional training offers in any of the centers of the vocational training system,” it reads in the text regarding what it calls “specialists”, whose access and conditions will have to be regulated later.
The other movement with more impact, although it has already been known since the Lomloe was approved, is that the body of technical teachers, a vestige of when the VET was more compartmentalized in terms of academic or practical training and which is framed in group A2 of the administration (those of Secondary and FP are A1, although they perform the same function), is doomed to disappear as such.
Among the approximately 28,000 technical professors there are two profiles: those with a university degree and those without. The former, a majority, will promote through an access method yet to be determined. They will earn some salary and, above all, possible professional development. For the group without university degrees, of whose size there is no official data but the affected ones themselves estimate about 12,000 people, in many cases without a degree because the discipline they teach does not have that equivalent, Education has decided to create a category own with ten specialties (kitchen and pastry; aesthetics; manufacture and installation of carpentry and furniture; vehicle maintenance; machining and maintenance of machines; pattern making and dressmaking; hairdressing; graphic arts production; catering services; and welding).
The draft also contemplates a third group, that of technical professors without a university degree but who do not belong to any of these ten specialties exempt from degrees and which are considered a body to be extinguished. It also opens the possibility of a fourth group, which Education defines as “those who, for teaching in certain specialties, are determined by regulation after consulting the autonomous communities”, without specifying further.
Another aspect that the Government wants to promote a lot. The accreditation of what workers know how to do based on learning it in their companies, although no one has officially recognized it, is not a new element in Vocational Training. However, it never got off the ground: since it was launched in 2009, it has been used by just 300,000 workers out of a potential pool of 11 million.
The accreditation will also be accompanied by “a proposal for a training itinerary that completes the training leading to obtaining a certificate or a vocational training title”, as read in the preliminary draft. That is, once the corresponding competencies have been accredited, the worker will be able to continue training in some of the levels of the FP.
In this regard, Title VII of the text defines the creation of a “flexible and free” career guidance system open to individuals, companies, organizations and institutions throughout their lives and aimed at “individualized information and advice on job offers. professional training that, adjusted to the corresponding profile and employment opportunities, allow qualification and requalification from the motivation and clear identification of one’s own objectives “.