Apprenticeship agreement

The apprenticeship agreement may be entered into at different times during the apprenticeship:

  • The apprenticeship agreement includes the basic course and usually commences with work experience with the employer. This is called ‘the work experience route’.
  • The apprenticeship agreement is signed after the apprentice has passed the basic course. This is called ‘the college access route’.

Denmark offers education guarantee. Therefore, apprentices who do not have an apprenticeship agreement with an employer may complete parts of their apprenticeship at a work experience centre. Apprentices from the work experience centre may be employed on the same terms as those who already have an apprenticeship agreement.

The employer may seek assistance at a vocational college regarding the type of agreement suitable for the apprenticeship for which the employer and the apprentice wish to sign a contract.

What are the various types of apprenticeship agreements?

Employers must be certified by the national trade committee in order to handle the work placement element of the apprenticeship. Employers are then able to choose between several apprenticeship agreement options.

The Standard Apprenticeship Agreement: The employer is certified as a work placement provider and may undertake to train an apprentice throughout the apprentice’s course, or only in selected stages.

Short Apprenticeship Agreement: This type of agreement must include part of one work placement period and one college period in its main course element. It may, however, also include more of the apprenticeship, e.g. the basic course or a new apprenticeship agreement.

This type of agreement is an attempt to secure apprenticeship agreements with employers that are either not able to commit themselves to an entire apprenticeship due to uncertainty about the employer’s order intake or are certified for work experience for parts of the apprenticeship only.

A student and an employer may only enter into two short apprenticeship agreements. Please note, that an addendum to the apprenticeship agreement is regarded as a new agreement. The local training committees may, however, under certain circumstances grant dispensation for a third agreement.

New Apprenticeship Agreement: This is another type of apprenticeship agreement designed for young people who need a more practical basic programme as the entry point to their apprenticeship. Hence the teaching of the basic course module is wholly or partially done in the company and is the responsibility of the employer.
This part of the apprenticeship must completed within a year. The training is agreed with, monitored and assessed by the local vocational college.
Apart from this basic module, this apprenticeship is identical to the standard apprentriceship programme.

Combination Agreement:
A combination agreement is typically made if an employer has not been certified independently to take on the full apprenticeship. Thus, two or more employers share the responsibility for an apprentice’s whole apprenticeship.

Each employer must enter into an independent apprenticeship agreement with the apprentice. The agreement must state during which period the agreement is valid for the employer in question. It must also state during which period other specific employers are responsible for the apprentice. This also applies to the periods during which the apprentice attends college.

Partial Apprenticeship Agreement: This type of agreement is between an employer and an apprentice from a work experience centre. The agreement only covers part of a work placement period.

An apprentice may only complete one partial apprenticeship agreement in the same company.

How do you enter into an apprenticeship agreement?

To enter into an apprenticeship agreement, the employer and the apprentice must fill out the approved form published by the Danish Ministry of Education. An apprenticeship agreement is a legal contract between the apprentice and the employer. Thus, the Danish Apprenticeship Agreement is mandatory for everyone – including foreign-based companies with operations in Denmark.

The apprenticeship agreement must be signed no later than on the date of commencement of the apprenticeship. If the apprentice is under the age of 18, the apprentice’s guardian must provide his/her consent by signing the Apprenticeship Agreement.

The apprenticeship agreement must be signed as soon as possible and submitted to the vocational college to which the apprentice wishes to gain entry. The college will review and provide guidance on completion of the agreement. After registration of the apprenticeship agreement, the college sends copies to the employer and the apprentice. The apprentice will simultaneously be informed of whether he/she has been admitted to the college or has been referred to an alternative college.

Please note that the responsibility for completing all points of the apprenticeship agreement rests with the signatories. Failure to provide information on collective agreements, wages and working hours may result in financial outlay for the employer.

In Denmark, the apprentice and the employer are free to choose between the colleges offering the apprenticeship course. The two parties must therefore agree on the college to which they wish to seek admission for the apprentice. Their joint decision must be clearly stated in the apprenticeship agreement.

If the employer and the apprentice have agreed on additional training in the form of other general subjects, subjects at a higher level or additional vocational training, this must be stated in the apprenticeship agreement.

This is the form that must be completed when entering into an apprenticeship agreement: Apprenticeship agreement in Danish.

This document must be completed in Danish to be legally valid: Apprenticeship agreement in English

This document has only been translated for information purposes. It cannot be completed in English. This document must be completed in Danish in order to be legally valid: Guide explaining how to complete the apprenticeship agreement

What does ‘trial period’ mean?

The first three months after the starting date agreed on the apprentice agreement is a trial period.  During this trial period, the parties to the apprenticeship agreement may terminate the agreement without stating a reason and without notice.

On expiry of the trial period, the apprenticeship agreement is in principle non-terminable.

The trial period applies to all types of apprenticeship agreements.

If the apprentice attend college the trial period is put on hold.

The trial period does not, however, apply to relationships where the employer and apprentice have previously had an apprenticeship agreement or partial agreement in place.
If an employer and an apprentice enter into two or more short-term apprenticeship agreements or an additional partial agreement, the trial period only applies to the initial agreement.

Changes to the content of the agreement

Should the parties wish to change the apprenticeship agreement, these changes must be made in writing and registered with the vocational college. Such changes may be e.g. a change of company, extension or curtailment of the apprenticeship.

Please use the Addendum to the Apprenticeship Agreement (Tillæg til Uddannelsesaftalen) which is in Danish and therefore must be completed in Danish. This form must also be used to extend a short-term agreement with an apprentice.

Cancellation of an apprenticeship agreement

On expiry of the trial period, the apprenticeship agreement is in principle non-terminable.

The agreement may, however, be terminated if the parties are in agreement to do so or in the event of gross breach of contract.

In the event of breach of contract, the party that wishes to terminate the apprenticeship agreement must do so no later than one month after having become aware of the breach of contract. To terminate an apprenticeship agreement, this form must be used: Termination of Apprenticeship Agreement. It is in Danish and may therefore only be completed in Danish. This form has not been translated into English. Please contact the vocational college if any change is made to the Apprenticeship Agreement.

The termination form must be submitted to the vocational college as soon as possible.

Disputes or terminations may at any time be settled by mediation by the national trade committee or subsequently by the Dispute Board (Tvistighedsnævnet). Please see the section on Disputes.

An apprenticeship agreement will usually lapse if the employer is declared bankrupt or the person responsible for the company and the apprenticeship dies. The apprentice will then be entitled to college work experience.

If the apprentice is excluded from teaching by the vocational college, the apprenticeship agreement will be regarded as having lapsed.