More ‘dual learning’ choices in Flemish schools


More than 100 options for workplace experience will be available for secondary school pupils in 2020


Twenty-three new dual learning programmes have been approved for Flemish schools, on top of the 80 programmes offered when the system was officially rolled out last month. The aim is to broaden the options available to pupils who want to gain workplace experience during their secondary school education.

“After three years of intensive trials, dual learning has officially started this school year,” explained Hilde Crevits, who oversaw the project as education minister and continues to be involved as the minister for work. “These 23 new courses, from pastry chef to painter, are only some of the possibilities. In the coming years, we want to expand this even further.”

At the age of 15, pupils in professional or technical education in Flanders can now choose between full-time education and a dual learning option that involves spending more than half their school hours in the workplace. Both options lead to the same diploma, but are intended to set pupils ready to commit to a particular trade on the fast track to a job.

The approval of standard programmes in the 23 new areas means that schools and companies can start to prepare offers to begin in the 2020-21 school year. In addition to trades such as pastry chef, painter and butcher, there are also a range of options in construction, engineering, and textiles. There is even a career track specialising in inland and coastal shipping.

For minister Ben Weyts, who now looks after the education brief, schools and companies have a mutual interest in making the system work. “Schools want to keep young people motivated and to train them as well as possible,” he said. “And companies desperately need young employees with the right knowledge and skills.”