VET in Spain



VET programmes in the education system

The vocational education system pursues to qualify people to work and to contribute to the country's economic development. It also facilitates people’s professional and personal changes that may occur during life and contributes to democratic citizenship, promoting social inclusion and cohesion and learning throughout life. To achieve these goals, the curricula of VET diploma programmes in the education system aim to equip students with professional, personal and social skills linking theoretical and practical knowledge.

Vocational training that is offered in the education system is mainly IVET for young people. The social image of VET has improved and it has been an increasingly popular option after completing compulsory secondary education (at the age of 16) in recent years.

Education typically begins at pre-school and continues through to primary education (first stage of compulsory education) lasting six years, from 6 to 12 years old. Secondary education (last stage of compulsory education) lasts 4 years, until the age of 16. After completing secondary compulsory education, students obtain the lower compulsory secondary education certificate (Graduado en Educacion Secundaria Obligatoria (ESO) ISCED 2) which is a requirement to access upper secondary education (post obligatory), both the general Baccalaureate (Bachillerato ISCED 3), and the vocational option (Intermediate VET diploma programmes ISCED 3).
Entry opportunities have been opened to those students who left the education system without an essential basic qualification. There are entry tests to upper secondary education, based on certain age requirements, for both Bachillerato and VET Diploma programmes with certain age agreements.
Bachillerato gives direct access to Higher VET diploma programmes (ISCED 5) and, via a university entrance exam, to university studies (ISCED 6). Likewise, Higher VET Diploma programmes can give access to university studies, depending also on demand and available slots.
Both types of qualifications and doctoral studies (ISCED 6) are included in the Spanish Framework for Higher Education (Marco Español de Cualificaciones para la Educación Superior, MECES) created in 2011.
All VET programmes within the education system, at basic, intermediate or higher levels, have a minimum of 2,000 teaching hours split into two academic years according to the different sectors or fields grouped into professional branches

In 2014, almost all VET Diploma programmes have been updated and adapted to the requirements of the productive sectors and additionally, some new Diploma programmes have been developed. Thus, the current Catalogue of VET Diploma programmes within the Education System includes 175 Diplomas
• 21 Basic VET Diploma programmes (ISCED_P 353 / ISCED_A 353)
• 64 Intermediate VET Diploma programmes (ISCED_P 354/ ISCED_A 354)
• 90 Higher VET Diploma programmes (ISCED_P 554 /ISCED_A 550)

VET diplomas

Vocational Diplomas in the education system have an academic and professional value and attest both an educational level and the professional qualification obtained. These qualifications or diplomas can be obtained through programmes at three educational levels since 2014: Basic (new diploma), Intermediate and Higher VET Diplomas Programmes, according to the level descriptors provided for these educational levels. These qualifications are delivered in 2 000 hours in two years full time or its part-time equivalent.

VET Diploma programmes are approved by the Government through Royal Decrees with a 45-55% national curricula and a 55-45% of the Curricula contents settled at the Autonomous Communities observing the objectives, learning outcomes and assessment criteria established by the Government, specifying the contents according to the socioeconomic characteristics of the immediate environment.

The training is organised by professional modules. These are valid across the country, thus ensuring student mobility between autonomous communities. The set of all professional modules makes the training unit that after successful completion will lead to the qualification.

The curriculum of all VET Diploma programmes contains an on-the-job module, making up a 20% of the total qualification’s training length. Through this module the student acquires the skills that cannot be learnt in the educational center: He or she comes into contact with the work reality, and becomes familiar with the business organisation. Moreover they include a module on “Professional and guidance training” that deals with labour legislation and health and safety at work. A module on “Business and entrepreneurial initiative” deals with creativity and innovation and provides the students with the necessary skills to start a business.
Personal and social competences are treated transversely in all the modules making up the curriculum of VET in the education system. Each professional module includes: learning outcomes, evaluation criteria, the minimum content and educational guidance for teachers.

It should be noted that VET diplomas can also be obtained by passing an exam or by evaluating and recognising skills acquired through work experience, thus capitalising on professional modules.

Dual VET

On the other hand, the Royal Decree 1529/2012, of 8th November establishes the Training and Apprenticeship Contract and the basis of dual vocational training and reflects a firm commitment to the participation of companies, not only in the training design, but also through a shared responsibility in the teaching and learning process. This will be carried out through projects that will be implemented by the Autonomous Communities, which will help develop subsequent regulations tailored to the regional needs.

The number of students, training centres and companies involved in dual VET projects has been growing since the above-mentioned Royal Decree entered into force.

Dual VET goes beyond the mere teaching activity in a company or an educational institution. It is an effective means of knowledge transfer between educational institutions and companies, which in turn results in an unquestionable improvement of training quality, company innovation potential, and ultimately, of the general competitiveness of those educational institutions and companies involved, not to mention the better employability of those who study programmes included in this type of provision.

Thus, Dual VET has been explicitly recognised as a type of provision in the LOMCE, being described as “the combination of training initiatives and actions that, in joint responsibility with companies, aim at the professional qualification of individuals, combining the teaching and learning processes in educational institutions with those at the workplace”.

Sector branches in VET 

Proffesional families

Levels of qualifications
Levels of qualifications
Competences of the higher vocational training (Level 5B)
  1. Define, plan and organize work processes and procedures with autonomy in their professional field.
  2. Evaluate and solve problems and contingencies in various contexts and generally not predictable , with critical understanding , knowledge transfer and capacity for innovation and creativity.
  3. Supervise objectives, techniques and results of individual work and team members with leadership and spirit of improvement , ensuring the quality of the process and the product or service .
  4. Apply and integrate advanced technologies and specialized knowledge or work processes
  5. Adapt to new work situations , keeping up to date technical and technological scientific knowledge concerning their professional environment , managing their existing resources, training and learning throughout life, especially when using information technology and communication.
  6. Communicate with peers , superiors, customers and people under their responsibility, using effective communication channels , transmitting information or adequate knowledge and respecting the autonomy and competence of those involved in the field of their work.
  7. Create safe environments in the development of their work and that of their teams , overseeing and implementing procedures to prevent occupational and environmental risks, in accordance with the provisions of the rules and objectives of the company .
  8. Perform basic management to the creation and operation of a small business and take initiative in their profession with a sense of social responsibility.
  9. Exercising the rights and obligations of the professional activity, in accordance with the provisions of current legislation, actively participating in the economic, social and cultural life.

 Competences of the training cycles Intermediate (Level 3)

  1. Apply skills and knowledge of different areas of knowledge in a specialized professional field.
  2. Solve problems and contingencies in a creative and innovative way within the scope of their competence , identifying the underlying causes .
  3. Supervise the work routine of others, asssuming the necessary responsibility for the evaluation and improvement of work processes and procedures that ensure the quality of the product or service.
  4. Adapt to new work situations caused by technological and organizational changes in production processes , updating their knowledge using existing resources for learning throughout life , especially information technology and communication.
  5. Organize with responsibility and autonomy their assigned work in the field of competence, cooperating or working together with other professionals in the workplace .
  6. Communicate effectively , while respecting the autonomy and competence of the different people involved in the company, to improve the quality of work and product or service performed .
  7. Apply protocols and preventive measures of occupational hazards and environmental protection during the production process , to prevent damage to people, and the environment.
  8. Perform basic management for the creation and operation of a small business and take initiative in their work.
  9. Exercise the rights and obligations of the professional activity , in accordance with the provisions of the current legislation , actively participate in the economic, social and cultural life

VET in the Polytechnic Hermenegildo Lanz of Granada