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Initial vocational training (isced level 4)

Structure, duration and objective
Initial training is supervised by the Ministry of National Education and Religious Affairs. Initial training is provided chiefly by the Vocational Training Institutes (IEKs). The public and private IEKs operate in the framework of the National System of Vocational Education and Training (ESEEK) which was established in 1992 under the aegis of the Organisation for Vocational Education and Training (OEEK). There are also some IEKs under the supervision of other ministries and agencies, such as the Greek Manpower Employment Organisation (OAED).

The objective of the IEKs is to provide all types of vocational training, both initial and advanced, and to ensure that the students obtain the necessary qualifications by imparting scientific, technical, vocational and practical knowledge and by cultivating skills with a view to facilitating their occupational integration and their adaptation to the changing needs of the production process.

Graduates of Unified Lyceum or older type of Lyceum and Technical Vocational Schools (TEEs) may enrol in the IEKs.
For holders of Unified Lyceum leaving certificates, training lasts four semesters. Each training year consists of two self-contained semesters (14 full weeks of training each semester).

Holders of TEE (or TEL / Technical Vocational Lyceum) Cycle 2 certificates are admitted directly to the third semester of the IEK in their specialisation (total duration of study: one year) or they may choose another IEK specialisation, in which case they study for the regular four semesters.

Certain IEKs have specific Departments which also accept Gymnasium leavers aged over 18 who may study for up to two semesters.

Educational curricula
During term the students attend compulsory theoretical, laboratory and mixed lessons in the framework of the educational curricula, which cover a wide range of branches and specialisations. A total of 168 specialisations are taught at the IEKs in the following fields:

  • Information technology - telecommunications - networks
  • Financial and management services
  • Food and drink
  • Transport and tourism
  • Electronics - electrics - engineering
  • Construction
  • Industrial chemistry
  • Applied arts
    • Applied arts level 1 (Gymnasium)
  • Energy - environment
  • Health - cosmetics - social services
  • Communications and mass media
  • Clothing and footwear
  • Culture and sport
  • Agriculture

Students at public IEKs must pay fees for each semester. Scholarships are available in certain circumstances. Besides, students have the opportunity to participate in subsidised practical exercises. The fees charged by the private IEKs vary and are adjusted each year in accordance with the regulations in force.

Examinations - Qualifications acquired
The students are assessed during the semester in the form of progress tests; final examinations are taken at the end of the semester.

Trainees who successfully complete their training at public and private IEKs are awarded a Vocational Training Certificate which entitles them to take part in the qualifying examinations leading to the award of a Vocational Training Diploma, at the level of post secondary (3+) vocational training. The OEEK holds nationwide examinations twice a year, which include theoretical and practical tests.

Adult Gymnasium leavers who study at the IEKs' post-Gymnasium departments sit for qualifying examinations in order to get a Vocational Training Diploma, Level 1.

Before taking the qualifying examinations for the vocational training certificate, graduates of public and private IEKs may attend an optional six-month practical training course which is considered as a recognised period of service for obtaining a licence to exercise an occupation. This training is provided by the public sector or by private firms and is supervised by a coordinator.
The Vocational Training Diploma is recognised both in Greece and in the other E.U. countries and is a prerequisite for obtaining a licence to exercise a profession in the relevant specialisations.

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