I am reading about the Vocational Education system in Finland and thought I would share some highlights. The full text can be found here:
Finnish school children begin their formal education on their 7th birthday, although most also attend voluntary pre-primary education and day-care before that.
Vocational Education (16+)
UPPER SECONDARY VOCATIONAL EDUCATION AND TRAINING (VET) is the name for what in England would be termed further education, Over 50% of applicants to secondary level studies choose VET as their first option. THE MINISTRY OF EDUCATION AND CULTURE GRANTS THE AUTHORITY to provide vocational training. and training providers are free to target their training provision as they choose, to meet the needs of business and industry. At present, there are about 150 VET providers. Upper secondary vocational education and training is provided in vocational schools and in the form of apprenticeship training. In addition, a vocational qualification can be obtained through a so-called competence test administered by a qualification committee. The duration of a vocational qualification is 3 years (120 credits) including modules to supplement vocational skills which aim to provide students with the general skills and knowledge needed at work, in further training and as citizens. These can be replaced with studies in general upper secondary schools. Compulsory core subjects include languages, mathematics, physical education, as well as arts and culture. Free-choice modules may be vocational subjects, core subjects, or general- interest subjects.
Further and specialist vocational qualifications are always achieved through competence-based tests. Studies are carried out at vocational institutions or in the form of apprenticeship training. The scope of furt- her and specialist qualifications or their constituent modules is not specified.