The pre-approval system for employer training that has been in place since the introduction of employment
insurance in 1995 will be abolished, enabling businesses to freely provide necessary training. The Ministry of
Employment and Labor (MOEL), headed by Minister Lee, Jung Sik, announced the Direction for Vocational
Training Regulation Innovation containing the above-mentioned measures.
The Employer Training Support System funded by employment insurance has supported business training
expenses to provide education and training necessary for improving incumbent job competencies. However,
timely training provision has been difficult as applications for training course accreditation (approval) must
be made to the Human Resources Development Service of Korea five days prior to training in order to
receive training expense support, and training cannot be accredited when proof of the expertise of
instructors and the relevance between training content and the jobs of course takers is not provided.
Thus, the enterprise vocational training system will be drastically reorganized by abolishing ex-ante
regulations inhibiting free vocational training by enterprises. On Thursday, November 24th, MOEL Minister
Lee visited TPC Mechatronics (Seo-gu, Incheon), a Training Excellent SME, to meet with representatives of
SMEs and announce the direction of vocational training regulation innovation.
This field visit by the minister to announce the direction reveals the strong will of the government to
identify and radically abolish inconvenient, burdensome, or outdated regulations by directly seeking a
public perspective of the system.
□ Direction for Vocational Training Regulation Innovation
First, to ensure maximum autonomy of training operation, the management method of enterprise
vocational training will be changed from ex-ante regulation to ex-post performance management.
Second, regulations hindering self-directed vocational training of employees will be removed to allow
employees to choose training content and methods.
Third, training expenses and administrative burdens will be significantly reduced. Since administrative
procedures and training expenses are barriers to training participation facing SMEs with poor training
circumstances, regulative barriers will be drastically reduced.
□ Measures to Push for Vocational Training Regulation Innovation
1. Autonomy of vocational training directly provided by businesses will be expanded.
1-1. An “elastic internal training operation system” will be introduced to provide government support for
training expenses without separate approval procedures when businesses recognized for excellence in
training directly provide internal vocational training and submit annual training plans. Currently, businesses
are required to obtain approvals for individual training courses to receive support, and approvals are
necessary to change training instructors/teachers. From next year, the four-hour minimum training time
requirement will also be abolished to provide government support for training sessions of one to three
hours if such training is necessary for businesses.
1-2. Operational autonomy of joint training centers for SMEs will be enhanced. When a provider is selected
as an excellent joint training center, approvals are not required for reopening a course once a training
course has been approved,. From next year, new training courses can be freely operated without pre-
Businesses may also utilize their budgets freely within the budgetary limit. Currently, partitions between
budget items limit the use of a budget item for other items.
2. Employee choice over vocational training will be enhanced.
2-1. Employees will be permitted to autonomously choose and undertake necessary training courses.
Distance training systems have supported training expenses only when employers and commissioned
training providers sign contracts per training course and employees complete full courses. This will be
changed to allow employers and commissioned training providers to sign package contracts for various
courses via “Package Subscription-type Remote Training.” Training expenses are supported even when
employees choose their own content among package-contracted courses; employees can take what they
want including short-form content items of less than ten minutes which is preferred by incumbents with
difficulties in securing time for training.
2-2. The range of free online vocational training opportunities will be expanded. The government is
operating the Smart Training Education Platform (STEP), an online vocational training platform that provides
2,672 pieces of free public online learning content. Currently. courses, trainees cannot retake the same
course after completing training, but will be able to retake courses without limits. This allows for repetitive
learning, a significant advantage of online learning.
2-3. The provision of Middle-aged and Older Worker New-start Counseling, that supports career designing
of such workers at SMEs, will become more convenient for employees. In addition to face-to-face
counseling, contactless counseling programs via Zoom, etc. will be available, and when completing
programs, 10% of employee co-payments will be reimbursed.
3. Business training expenses and administrative burdens will be drastically reduced.
3-1. An Enterprise Vocational Training Card will be introduced to exempt training expenses, a barrier facing
SMEs regarding training participation, and to simplify administrative procedures. SMEs must currently pay
10% of training expenses when commissioning training providers to provide training, but this will be
exempted and the required items to be entered into computer databases in order to apply for training
courses will be significantly simplified.
3-2. Complex training cost criteria will be improved. Current criteria for vocational training expense support
are based on 269 National Competency Standards (NCS) job-type sub-categories, which will be gradually
simplified based on 24 job-type groups. This will alleviate administrative burdens for reviewing and
selecting job types for training that correspond to one of 269 NCS job types to receive training expense
3-3. The review and evaluation system that training providers must regularly undertake from the Korea Skills
Quality Authority (KOREATECH) will be improved. Evaluation indicators will be reduced from six to four,
while the objectivity of the evaluation will be enhanced by reducing additional points and the weight and
proportion of qualitative evaluations which may rely on subjective judgement.
□ SME Meeting for Vocational Training
Minister Lee personally visited TPC Mechatronics, a company recognized for its excellence in training, to
meet with SMEs.
The company, an air-pressure machinery and motion control SME manufacturer, was certified as an
excellent company in HRD (work-study category) by actively participating in government-supported training
programs, including the work-study system and employer training, and now freely provides training by
participating in the elastic internal training system, a pilot project for training regulation innovation.
CEOs of businesses excelling in vocational training—Best-HRD certified businesses and winners of
exemplary employer training awards—attended the meeting and discussed difficulties and development
directions for continuous future regulation innovation.
Minister Lee said, “The government, under the banner of autonomy and responsibility, will break away from
the old practices and ways of thinking and proactively innovate regulations to allow businesses to exercise
their competencies to the utmost.”
ㅇ He also stressed that “The field voices from SMEs and workers will be thoroughly reflected
in the 4th Master Plan for Vocational Competency Development that will be announced early next year to
lay a basis for the vocational competency policies of the Yoon Administration.”