The VET sector is of major importance in the Austrian education system. This is shown, on the one hand, by the high attractiveness of VET programmes for young people: some 75% of all pupils who have completed compulsory schooling opt for a VET pathway. On the other hand, the major significance of VET can also be seen in the diversity of programmes. A pronounced differentiation both in the school-based and in the dual training sector ensures that every young person can develop his or her strengths and talents in the best possible way.

At the upper secondary level pupils have the choice between two school-based VET programmes (with occupation-specific practice and compulsory periods of work placement at companies) and dual VET (taking place at companies for 80% of the time and at part-time vocational schools for 20% of the time):

  • School for intermediate vocational education (berufsbildende mittlere Schule, BMS): These are three- or four-year schools where general education subjects are combined with a full VET qualification for specific occupations (such as in engineering, fashion, agriculture, tourism, business administration). The pupils are typically between 15 and 18 years old. BMS is completed with a final examination. The graduates acquire vocational qualifications (at intermediate level) which they can use directly on the labour market.
  • College for higher vocational education (berufsbildende höhere Schule, BHS): These are five-year schools which combine in-depth general education and high-level specialist training in theory and practice. The pupils are typically between 15 and 19 years old. BHS is completed with the matriculation and diploma examination. This leads to a qualification which gives graduates access to all tertiary programmes and also provides direct entry to the labour market, where they can exercise higher-level activities.
  • Dual vocational education and training (apprenticeship): These programmes, which are currently offered in around 200 apprenticeship occupations, take place at a training company (80% of the training time) alternating with occupation-specific part-time vocational school (20%). The programmes have a duration of between two and four years, most of them three years. The apprentices are typically between 15 and 18 years old. After passing the apprenticeship-leave examination they can be employed immediately as skilled workers.

At tertiary level there is also a choice between many VET programmes, either in the formal education system (such as part-time industrial master colleges, programmes at universities of applied sciences) or outside, at adult learning establishments (such as the specialist college of the Institute for Economic Promotion, the VET and further training establishment of the Ministry of the Interior).

More information:
- ibw - VET in Austria:
- Tritscher-Archan, Sabine (2016): VET in Europe: Country Report Austria. Download
- Cedefop (2018): Spotlight on VET. Austria. Download
- The Austrian education system:

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