EGU is an alternating or sandwich-type training programme where practical training is combined with a subject-relevant school-based part in an overall 1½-3-year programme in which the school-based part lasts between 20 to 40 weeks.
The school-based elements are taken from a number of existing education and training programmes.
The objective of EGU is for the pupils to achieve personal, social and professional qualifications that both admit them to one of the other education and training programmes leading to a professional qualification, and provide a basis for employment. The programme and the competence aimed at, within a professional sector, are described in the EGU pupil’s personal education plan.
The EGU Act describes the target group as persons under the age of 30 who live in the municipality and do not receive education (including not in a production school programme either), do not have a job and do not have the preconditions for completing another qualifying youth education.
The young people in question are typically, practically-oriented, often come with a weak educational background, and are not very academically inclined.
Number of pupils
The annual intake to EGU is usually approximately 1250 pupils (2009). A radical increase in activity is expected, as from 15 August 2007, all the municipalities are obliged to offer EGU to the target group.
Structure and length
Each time an EGU plan is signed, in principle a new individual educational programme is established that is adapted to the individual young person’s qualifications, wishes and needs. An EGU plan can thus be freely drawn up within a frame of up to three years, with between 20 and 40 weeks at school wherein school and practical training can alternate in the course of a week.
On the basis of the professional competence aimed at the EGU plan describes the practical training and school-based parts included in the programme. Practical training can take place within the entire private and public labour market.
The EGU supervisor must ensure that the required professional competence is achieved. Examinations are held if they are on the programme for the educational elements that make up the pupil’s EGU.
EGU pupils are typically trained for an assistant function within a particular line of industry.
When the EGU has been completed and pupils have gained employment and educational competences, as well as graduate rights, they can become members of an unemployment fund. Thus, an EGU plan is to ensure that pupils actually are prepared for the labour market when they have completed their EGU.
The EGU plan must ensure that the places offering training are sufficiently qualified to be able to live up to the objective of EGU practical training. Practical training places are largely made available by enterprises that cannot be approved for Vocational Education and Training (VET).
The school-based part
The school-based elements in an EGU plan can be taken from a great number of educational areas including vocational education and training programmes, adult vocational training, social and health care training programmes, production schools, day high schools, full-time teaching at youth schools, adult education centres etc. An agreement can be entered in order to organise the teaching on the basis of the individual pupils’ needs - if necessary with a supplementary grant.
The municipalities are required to establish EGU for the target group. Vocational and production schools can enter into an agreement to organise EGU on behalf of the municipality.
The majority of EGU pupils go on to seek employment or a vocational training programme when they have completed their EGU, or in circumstances when their education is interrupted with a view to continued education or training.
”Positive” interruption as a success criterion
A special feature of EGU is that if, during the course of the EGU programme, it is assessed that the pupil has achieved the prerequisites for, and the will, to go on to an education and training programme in a qualified manner, or to achieve permanent employment, it may be appropriate to discontinue the EGU plan. If they continue to post-compulsory education, the pupils must have credits for the school-based parts they have completed.
Supervision and quality assurance
The unit responsible for the individual education and training elements in the pupil’s EGU agreement has responsibility for the quality. The supervision is similarly located, depending on the educational provider involved. If this is a vocational college, the Ministry of Education is the supervising authority.
During the school-based part of the programme, EGU pupils receive a weekly school allowance.
In 2010 this allowance amounted to DKK 616 for the under-18 year-olds and DKK 1,475 for young people over the age of 18. During practical training, the pupils receive ordinary trainee wages, which take a starting point in the first year’s wages in the vocational education and training programmes (approx. DKK 9000 a month). School-based teaching is ordinarily financed pursuant to the legislation governing the educational elements that are included in the education programme. The municipality can provide supplementary grants etc. for the teaching.
The municipal expenses for EGU are, apart from expenses to guidance, administration, trainees’ wages etc. financed partly by state reimbursement and partly by budgetary guarantees through the municipal block grant scheme, i.e. general fund transfers from the state to the municipalities.
The municipalities themselves finance the appointment of persons in charge of EGU. The production schools and vocational colleges receive grants to establish, administer and implement EGU plans.
It is stated in the EGU Act that the EGU pupil’s personal education plan has to indicate the anticipated award of credit for school-based teaching and/or practical training when the pupil continues in education and training.
EGU may be characterised as a guided intensive programme considering the target group. Close personal and social support and follow up of the individual pupil, in both the school-based part and the practical training, is often a precondition for the programme being a success for the pupil. An EGU guidance counsellor often has a mentor role in relation to the individual EGU pupil.