Nation-wide campaigns promote enrolment in IVET programmes
In July 2019, the Agency for VET and Adult Education (ASOO) and the economy ministry (MINGO) launched nation-wide campaigns for the promotion of VET during the main enrolment period in upper secondary education. The enrolment data indicate increased share of students in initial VET, showing that VET is becoming the first choice of many students, including high achievers.
Enrolment results show stronger interest in VET
Although Croatia has one of the highest participation rates in VET in the EU, VET is often perceived as a second-choice education pathway. Several VET programmes are facing low enrolment, reflected in labour market shortages in many vocational occupations. Due to negative demographic trends, the total enrolment in upper secondary education in Croatia declined by 19.3% from 2013/14 to 2019/20. This particularly affected enrolment in VET, which declined by 21.1% in the past six years, while enrolment in general education programmes declined by 16.2%. For this reason, the promotional campaigns focused on improving the public perception and highlighting the value of vocational occupations.
However, in 2019/20 the enrolment trends reversed. Although the overall enrolment in upper secondary education is still declining, the trend is slowing down for VET (0.5% lower than the previous year), while it is more pronounced for general education (2.5% lower). As a result, the share of VET students slightly increased in 2019/20 (67.9%) compared to 2018/19 (67.4%). Enrolment in crafts programmes is encouraging: although the number of students in these programmes halved in the past six years, in 2019/20 it increased by 9.1%. As a result, higher enrolment has been recorded in VET programmes for shortage occupations, such as cooks, waiters, tillers, bricklayers, carpenters and butchers. Other popular VET programmes are in economy, nursing, CNC technologies and tourism.
Skills surround us. Choose vocational education!
Aimed at improving the public perception of VET, the central message of the ASOO campaign Skills surround us. Choose vocational education! highlighted the importance of vocational skills for modern-day economy, as well as top-education opportunities and favourable employment outlook for VET graduates. The campaign also announced the current reform of VET curricula, which will make VET more relevant to labour market demands.
The MINGO campaign particularly targeted enrolment in programmes which train future work force for shortage occupations in crafts and trades, delivered within the Croatian apprenticeship scheme (Unified model of education /Jedinstveni model obrazovanja, JMO). This campaign also highlighted the national scholarship scheme for students in JMO programmes and grants to enterprises engaged in JMO. Specifically, it announced higher amounts of scholarships and grants in the immediate future.