Developing occupational profiles and curricula based on skills needs assessments

The issue: Why clearly defined occupational profiles are necessary for curriculum development for apprenticeships

Once skills needs have been identified, the next stage is to develop occupational standards1 (also referred to as occupational profiles in some countries), which are in turn used to develop competency-based curricula (or outcome-based curricula). Figure 3.2 depicts the four steps in the development of curricula from labour market skills demand analysis.

Figure 3.2: Developing curricula based on labour market demand analysis

Source: Adapted from E-TVET Council, 2015.

Since occupational standards (OSs) are linked directly to the competencies needed to perform a job and are defined in collaboration with the employers’ representatives, a competency-based curriculum (CBC) developed based on OSs would ensure a close link between apprenticeship programmes and labour market needs.

In Germany, “competence means the ability and willingness of the individual to use knowledge and skills as well as personal, social and methodical capabilities and to behave in a thoughtful and individually and socially responsible manner. The qualifications are described on the basis of the competence categories, ‘professional competence’ and ‘personal competence’, each of which is again divided into two subcategories (professional competence: ‘knowledge’ and ‘skills’, personal competence: ‘social competence’ and ‘independence'2

Box 3.2 What does a training regulation stipulate in Germany

In Germany, a training regulation (akin to the term “national curricula” in some countries) for each occupation determines:

  • the designation of the training occupation
  • the duration of the training – which shall be not less than two and not more than three years (most programmes are of three years’ duration but some programmes run for two years or three-and-a-half years)
  • the description of the training occupation – the typical “skills, knowledge and capabilities” of the profession in summary form
  • the framework training curriculum – a guide to how the teaching of skills, knowledge and capabilities is to be structured in terms of content and time
  • the examination requirements.

The curricula formulated in the training regulations represent minimum standards. Each enterprise therefore has the option to include other topics in its training and to offer apprentices additional qualifications.

Source: BIBB, 2014.

1 The term “occupational standard” provides an official description of the specific competencies needed to carry out a particular occupation and the performance requirement to judge such competencies, as agreed by a representative sample of employers and other key stakeholders. Descriptions of occupational profiles or standards vary between countries.