Over-qualified Denmark: Too many academics spoil the broth

Ben Hamilton
July 5th, 2017

This article is more than 6 years old.

Country will be short of 70,000 people with a vocational education by 2025

A collaboration with the country’s public schools is needed to spark vocational learning back into life (photo: US Air Force / Nichelle Anderson)

Midday is the deadline for all higher education applications in Denmark, and Danske Regioner is once again predicting a familiar pattern: too many academics, and not enough skilled workers.

From one in three to one in five
In the early 1990s, it was a different story. Every third young person chose a vocational education, but now that percentage has fallen to one out of every five.

By 2025 the country will lack 70,000 people with a vocational education, but be overflowing with academics.

Paying the price
Lars Kunov, the head of Danske Erhvervsskoler, tells DR that the country is simply paying the price for portraying vocational education as something you choose if you can’t get into an upper-secondary school (gymnasium).

“The political focus throughout the ’00s was trying to get more people to take advanced, long educations,” he said.

“We have struggled with a myth that vocational education is a life-long sentence stay within just one discipline, while the truth is that vocational education provides lots of opportunities for further education.”

Kunov urges greater collaboration with the public schools in the future.


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