Tripartite and bipartite bodies

National level

In Europe, in most countries, trade unions and employers’ associations are formal members, often with equal representation, of tripartite TVET committees dealing with the different aspects of policy design and implementation of apprenticeship training. These bodies include:

  • Bulgaria –the National Agency for Vocational Education and Training
  • Cyprus –the Apprenticeship Board
  • Denmark – the National Council of Vocational Education and Training
  • France –  the National Council for Employment, Vocational Training and Guidance
  • Germany – the Federal Institute for Vocational Education and Training
  • Ireland – the Apprenticeship Council
  • Luxembourg -  the Committee for Vocational Training (via the Chambers)
  • Netherlands –  the foundation “Cooperation Organization for Vocational Education, Training and the Labour Market” (SBB)
  • Spain – the General Council for Vocational Training (ETUC/Unionlearn. 2016)

In Norway, for example, the social partners – employers’ associations and trade unions – have representatives, most often the majority, in bodies dealing with apprenticeship policy, at intersectoral, sectoral and regional/local levels, covering issues such as overall quality, training programmes, curriculum development, career guidance, and assessment (box 10).

Box 2: Social dialogue and TVET in Norway

According to the legal framework, the social partners have representatives, most often the majority, in all important advisory bodies at national and county level for upper secondary TVET:

  • The National Council for Vocational Education and Training (Samarbeidsrådet for yrkesopplæring – SRY); give advice on an overarching level on quality issues;
  • nine Vocational Training Councils (Faglige råd) give advice to specific groups of trades on the training programme structure, curriculum development and quality issues; the County Vocational Training Board (Yrkesopplæringsnemnda) for each county gives advice on quality, career guidance, regional development and the provision in the county to meet the local labour market needs;
  • the trade-specific Examination Boards (Prøvenemnder) are situated in each county and are responsible for the trade and journeyman’s examination;
  • national and regional TVET Appeals Boards (Klagenemnder) cater for candidates who fail the trade and journeyman’s final examination (Norwegian Directorate for Education, 2014, p. 9).

In other regions of the world, Africa for example, trade unions and employers’ associations are represented on a number of tripartite bodies in South Africa dealing with different aspects of TVET policy, notably: the National Skills Authority, which advises the Ministry of Labour on skills policy and strategy and their implementation; the South African Qualifications Authority, which oversees the development and implementation of the National Qualifications Framework; and the Quality Council on Trades and Occupations, which is responsible for overseeing the design, implementation, assessment and certification of occupational qualifications (ILO, 2017, forthcoming).
In Asia, the social partners are represented in India on the tripartite National Council for Vocational Training, which advises the Ministry of Labour and Employment on the definition of standards for syllabi, equipment, duration of courses, methods of training and certification. They are also represented on the Central Apprenticeship Council, which advises the Government on policies, norms and standards in respect of the Apprenticeship Training Scheme.
In Latin America, the social partners in the Dominican Republic are members of Board of Directors of the INFOTEP, a national vocational training institution.

Sectoral level

At the sectoral level, trade unions and employers’ associations are particularly active. Sectoral bodies, made up of representatives of trade unions and employers’ associations, have a central role to play in furthering and implementing skills development policies, whether in terms of initial vocational education and training (IVET) or continuing vocational education and training (CVET) - or both, as will be seen in Chapter 8. This is often the case in Europe, with Denmark, France, Germany and the Netherlands having particularly well-developed models.

In the Netherlands, the role of the sectoral bodies has recently changed. Previously, there were 17 sectoral ‘knowledge centres’, which were responsible for the production of qualifications and assessment criteria, the accreditation of companies and quality assurance for on-the-job training. These centres have now been replaced by more broadly-based sectoral chambers (technology and the built environment; mobility, transport, logistics and maritime; healthcare, welfare and sport; trade; ICT and the creative industry, catering and hospitality; business services; and specialist crafts), which fall under the coordination of the Cooperation Organization for Vocational Education, Training and the Labour Market (SBB).

There are further examples of social partner involvement in sectoral bodies in Africa and Latin America. In South Africa, for example, the Sector Education and Training Authorities (SETAs) provide an institutional framework for the social partners to develop and implement sectoral skills plans. In Brazil, they participate in the S-System Councils – the National Services for Industrial Training (SENAI); SENAC, for commerce and the service sector; SENAR, for rural workers; and SENAT, for transport workers; they  are also represented on the Sectoral Technical Committees of the SENAI, which are responsible for defining vocational profiles for curriculum design (ILO, 2017, ibid.). In Dominican Republic, INFOTEP has sectorial consultative committees, where representatives of workers and employers provide inputs for the planning and management of dual training.