Vocational Training in United Kingdom

In the UK, there is a large range of summer courses in various subjects, e.g. art, design and economics. There are also many language courses at different levels. The Danish workforce generally has a good reputation, and young people have good opportunities to find temporary unskilled jobs, especially in London.

As one of countries starting with letter U listed on Countryaah.com, United Kingdom includes England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. Each area (nation) is considered a separate country with its own traditions, culture and history, and the regional parliaments have administrative powers in a number of areas, e.g. in relation to education systems.

Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have their own elected parliaments, and Scotland today has its own education system

Worth knowing

Vocational training in the UK

Vocational education in the United Kingdom is a youth education that is started after completing primary school (11 years of schooling). The special thing about vocational education in the UK is that they no longer have a fixed standard. Instead, one operates with final competencies. This means that the various types of vocational education have defined a number of goals and competencies that the student must achieve through the education. When the supervisor assesses that the required goals and competencies have been achieved, he / she sets the student for the final examination. The same vocational education can thus, for example, take 3 years for some students and 2 years for others.

You can take the following vocational training courses in the UK:

NVQ (National Vocational Qualification) reflects skills, knowledge and competencies that one must possess to perform a particular job. NVQ does not require a course of a specific length before one can pass.

BTEC First Diploma (FD): This vocational qualification is a work-related education for those who have already chosen an area in which they want to work. They are found in areas such as agriculture, animal care, information technology, motor vehicles, performing arts and public service. First Diploma is a 1-year full-time education.

Modern apprenticeships are vocational educations that take place primarily in the form of internships. There are two levels: foundation modern apprenticeship, which is aimed at students between 16 and 19 years, and advanced modern apprenticeship, which is aimed at students between 16 and 25 years. The educations take approx. three years to complete. They include skills such as group work, communication, IT and problem solving. These qualifications can lead to further education or employment.

BTEC National Awards / Certificate / Diploma: These educations are broad vocational educations at technician level within e.g. technology, fashion, music, photography, sports and public service. All qualifications are the same in standard, but vary in the number of units required to complete the training.

City & Guilds Certificates are issued for a wide range of vocational education. They are found at level 1-3, where 3 is the highest level.

All vocational education and training in the UK have a level in the National Qualifications Framework (NQF), which is an overview of types of education and levels of education. Note that you must have a British vocational education at level 3 if it is to be fully recognized in Denmark, or an education at level 2, which can possibly be compared with a short Danish vocational education (a step education).

On topschoolsintheusa.com, you can find more information about NQF at the Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulation.

In Scotland, vocational education is part of the Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA). Scottish Professional Qualifications (SVQs) are equivalent to the English NVQs and are fully accepted in the rest of the UK.


If you are considering taking all or part of your own internship abroad, read the section on internships abroad for vocational education under the section Primary school and upper secondary education.

Economics and education

In the UK, you have to pay tuition fees on higher education. In England and Wales, from 2006 you will have to pay tuition fees of up to DKK 33,000 per year. If you are going to Scotland or Northern Ireland, you must contact the educational institutions yourself to find out the tuition fee.

On the British Council’s website, you can read about grant and scholarship opportunities as a foreign student in the UK.

As in Denmark, you can also finance parts of your studies with student jobs. EU citizens do not need a work permit. Often, however, the studies are so concentrated that there is no time to work.

Working in the UK

The Danish workforce has a good reputation in the UK, and many young people find temporary unskilled work, especially in London.

Working conditions in the UK differ somewhat from those in Denmark. A working week is 37-42 hours, but there will often be a lot of overtime (about 4-5 hours a week). Overtime pay is not very common, and you do not always get paid during illness. There are no fixed rules for how much holiday you are entitled to, but the normal is 4-5 weeks holiday a year. If you want to secure a holiday, you must arrange this with your manager well in advance.

As a rule, the starting salary is quite low. The minimum wage is approx. DKK 42 per hour from the age of 22 after 6 months of work. If the salary is low, there is in turn the possibility of a reasonably rapid salary increase.

The attire in British workplaces is often more formal. Men usually wear suits and ties and women in dresses / suits.

Unemployment in the UK in 2012 was 7.9%. In the so-called Silicon Glen in Scotland, approx. 45,000 people are employed in the electronics industry, and 35% of the PCs sold in Europe are made in Scotland.

Job search

As a Danish citizen, you are free to apply for work in the United Kingdom. You must be over 18 years old and have good English skills, and it is important that you bring a CV (curriculum vitae) which has been translated into English.

If you do not have work when you arrive, it is a good idea to participate in leisure activities, e.g. sports, to create a personal network.

You can receive unemployment benefits for 3 months while applying for a job in the UK. See more about this in the article Job search abroad. You can get information about working in the UK from the EURES Advisers at the country’s Job Centers.

There are a number of job advertisements in the national newspapers (typically in the Thursday edition), e.g. The Guardian, The Times, The Daily Telegraph and The Independent.

If you are looking for work in the retail or restaurant industry, it is common to go around and ask the different places and hand in your CV. Many shops and restaurants put a sign in the window when looking for staff.

EWEP is a UK non-profit organization that provides jobs to young people who want to work in the UK for a while while improving their language skills.

Employment agencies

In the UK, there is a public employment service (The Employment Service). Here you can get advice on job search and find links to local job centers.

You also have the opportunity to contact a private recruitment agency, which mediates positions of both shorter and longer duration in various industries, e.g. trade and office, the hotel or banking industry. It is free to register as a jobseeker. At the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) you can find a list of recognized recruitment agencies.

You can also try looking at careerjet.

If you are studying in the UK and you want a part-time job, you can fill out a DSS1 form at your local job center.

Work-and residence permit

As a Dane, you can stay in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland without a residence permit. After 6 months, you can apply to the UK Home Office, Immigration and Nationality Directorate for a residence permit. The residence permit is not mandatory but can in many situations be practical to have.

See also the article Visas, work and residence permits.

Other things

It is possible to take a work stay combined with language teaching in England.

Study in United Kingdom