Further education in Spain

Vocational Training

Further education in Spain

Vocational training ( formación profesional/FP), traditionally taken by pupils who failed to achieve the standards required to study for the baccalaureate ( bachillerato) and long discredited as only for those who aren’t bright enough to pursue an academic career.

It has recently been given a higher status in an attempt to foster interaction between educational establishments and the labour market, which is of vital importance to Spain’s economic future. In particular, new vocational training courses have been introduced, enabling successful pupils to take specialist baccalaureate courses and proceed to higher education.

Vocational training consists of cycles of between 1,300 and 2,000 teaching hours depending on the profession. The first phase of FP ( grado medio) is open to pupils who have been awarded a graduado en educación secundaria certificate (see above) and wish to opt for vocational training rather than study for the baccalaureate.

The second phase ( grado superior) is open to pupils who have passed the baccalaureate or the examen de prueba de acceso a formación profesional, which includes subjects from the baccalaureate.

FP pupils divide their time between school studies and practical on-the-job training in commerce or industry, where they spend about 25 per cent of their learning time. Vocational training is free for most pupils, whether it takes place in a public centre or a private institution, as the latter are financed by the state (but employ their own teachers and have different rules from state centres). In recent years, emphasis has been placed on IT and telecommunications skills and EU languages, particularly English and German.

Pupils who complete a grado medio course receive a ‘technical specialist’ ( técnico especialista) certificate and those who complete a grado superior course receive a ‘superior technical’ ( técnico superior) certificate. Holders of the latter certificate may continue their studies at university.

This article is an extract from Living and Working in Spain.
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