CyprusIn order to counter the economic recession which has hit young people hard, the island of Cyprus has taken specific measures fostering vocational education and training (VET).

Firstly, it decided to provide financial aid for enterprises taking on apprentices. Together with social partners, it has set up a system called the New Modern Apprenticeship (NMA), which is restructuring the training instruments and processes involved in apprenticeships. The NMA will be fully operational in 2014.

The other large-scale innovation concerns the introduction of mobility for pupils between different pathways in the upper secondary cycle, including the possibility to move between mainstream education and secondary technical and vocational education (STVE). Curricula have been reviewed and the number of specialisations available in the vocational and technical pathway has been reduced in order to enhance the acquisition of key competences required to be more competitive on the labour market.

The vocational education and training (VET) system of Cyprus played a significant role in the recovery from the economic and labour market crisis in 2012-15, and laid the foundations for socioeconomic development.

The Cyprus educational system – 2013


Cypriot system (© Onisep / Elise Veteau)




The vocational pathway in Cyprus


Schooling is compulsory for 9 years and includes primary school education from 6 to 12 years and lower secondary school education in a Gymnasium (general lower secondary school) to the age of 15.

Vocational education and training in Cyprus is mainly public.

Secondary education

At the end of this period, pupils receive a school-leaving certificate. From the age of 15, if they have obtained a certificate, pupils can:

  • study for a mainstream education diploma at a lyceum (87.3% in 2011)
  • Technical schools offer two types of three-year programme. Students select their specialisation in the first year.
  • go to technical school which offers 2 types of pathways: a technical pathway and a vocational pathway. Most pupils (76% in 2002-2003), choose the vocational pathway which includes work experience in enterprises for one day a week during the 3rd year. The proportion of pupils following technical or vocational education is one of the lowest in Europe.

Upper secondary education lasts for 3 years, at the end of which pupils take the school-leaving certificate (Apolytyrio).


Higher education

Post-secondary VET will be provided in post-secondary institutes from the academic year 2012/2013. In non-university tertiary education, it will be offered by 4 public colleges and several private institutes.



The New Modern Apprenticeship (NMA) is geared towards young people aged between 14 and 25 and is based on 3 levels (preparatory, basic and post-secondary). It will be linked with a national vocational qualification framework. The content of this new system will be drawn up with the participation of social partners, who are also involved in developing professional certification. The NMA should be fully operational in 2015.

VET is also available through the new modern apprenticeship system, which is directed towards young people who leave formal education between ages 14 and 18. ‘Preparatory apprenticeship’ lasts for one school year and young people between 14 and 16 years of age who have not completed lower secondary programmes, may participate. The ‘apprenticeship certificate’ allows access to several regulated occupations, provided all other requirements of relevant legislation are met.

Key figures

  • Young people have been hit particularly hard by the economic crisis. The rate of unemployment for the under 25s increased between 2012 and 2013, rising from 28,1% to 38,6%. (Eurostat – 2013)
  • The share of early leavers from education and training in Cyprus has decreased by 5.0 percentage points between 2010 and 2016. (CEDEFOP – 2016)
  • The percentage of young VET graduates actually participating in further education and training is lower (23.6% in Cyprus and 32.8% for the EU in 2016). (CEDEFOP STATISTICAL OVERVIEWS – 2017)

 Last update : 18/06/2018

To find out more

The cyprus Educational system on Eurypedia

EURES (European Job Mobility Portal) : Living and working in Cyprus

Cyprus Ministry of Education
(section devoted to vocational and technical education)

Public employment service in Cyprus

VET in Cyprus (pdf)