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Hungary: more opportunities for upskilling youth and older workers

March 28, 2018
By: Katrin Uurman

The national system of vocational education and training and adult learning, in recent years, has been offering more possibilities for upskilling the workforce, particularly in occupations needed on the labor market.
The last reform opened new possibilities to acquire -free of charge- not only one but two VET qualifications included in the national qualifications register (NQR) through school-based VET. Enrolling in formal VET programmes to acquire a first qualification gives access to allowances and benefits (student card), family allowances for students below 20 or scholarships (HUF 10 000 to 30 000 per month, based on performance) for those training for occupations in demand.
After obtaining their first qualification, students may continue in ‘adult education’ programmes – accessible to those aged 16 to 25 – which are more flexible as they can be delivered full-time, in evening or correspondence courses (accounting respectively, 90%, 50% or 10% of full-time programmes in traditional school-based education) or e-learning courses.
Unqualified young people under 25 can return to education to acquire the first qualification. They may enroll, usually with no entrance examinations or in some cases following an aptitude test, exclusively in full-time ‘adult education’ programmes. In the first year of implementation (2016), some 12500 young adults enrolled.
The duration of NQR courses does not count towards the 12 semesters in higher education. Upon the decision of the universities and colleges operating in the relevant fields, applicants wishing to continue their studies in a particular specialization may receive 24 extra points for their NQR qualifications within the admission procedure to higher education.

New opportunities for adults
Adult training does not take place within the formal school system. It is based on a training agreement between the provider and the learner and, with the exception of registered job seekers, is not free of charge.
The last reform opens up new possibilities for workers of any age to get a (new) NQR qualification offered in formal ‘adult education’ VET programmes that can be delivered as evening courses or distance education.
The list includes almost half of the qualifications included in the NQR (300 out of a total of 650). It is noteworthy that people with qualifications acquired through self-financed training can still benefit from formal ‘adult education’ VET programmes that are free of charge; this also applies to build-on qualifications in the same field of expertise. This offers the possibility to those interested in improving their qualifications without additional cost, to do so, thus paving the way for a career change.

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Keywords: vocational education and training, adult learning, level of qualification / unskilled worker, employability
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By Izabella Élő

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