Związek Zakładów Doskonalenia Zawodowego (ZZDZ)
The Union of Vocational Education Centres

„With our network of public and non-public schools encompassing the whole territory of Poland, our educational offer reaches individuals of all ages. The educational mobility of the Union, manifesting in our offer of studies in different types of schools, as well as training courses in hundreds of professions and specialties, results from our cooperation with many state ministries and agencies, scientific institutes and employers’ associations.”



The Union and associated Centres have their origin in the tradition of polish craftsmanship and industry, wherein by the end of the 19th century progress demanded the launch of training institutions.

The first forms of training were lectures organized in Warsaw in 1861, addressed to craftsmen. They were taking place in “drawing rooms and ateliers”, which after the First World War changed names to Craft and Industry Institutes. One of the participants was a later Nobel Prize winner, Maria Skłodowska-Curie. Many of the Institutes carried on with their activities even during the Second World War.

After the liberation from Nazi occupation, then called Craft Education Institutes, they became some of the first adult vocational education institutions. They served the purpose of training professionals for an economy under reconstruction.

In 1946 the Craft Education Institutes formed the Head Office of Craft Education Institutes of the Polish Republic, which later became the contemporary Union of Vocational Education Centres.

In 1949 the Institutes were renamed to Craft Education Centres, and in 1962 to Vocational Education Centres. Concurrently the head office changed names to the Union of Vocational Education Centres.

School education in the Centres commenced in 1959, when the Centres became the only NGO permitted by the Ministry of Education to establish schools, which led to creating our own basic vocational schools for the youth.

The Law on the Education System from 1991 allows for schools to be founded by natural persons and private legal persons.

The Union’s Mission, Vision and Values

The Union is an educational association acting under the Law on Associations. As a non-governmental organization having a legal personality, it may make a profit, but the profit must be allocated only to fulfilling statutory objectives.

For its members, the role the Union plays is that of a coordinating and inspiring body. It also represents their interests in front of the central authorities, state administration and other institutions.

Our mission is creativity and openness to the educational needs of society and the economy.

Our aim is to provide an attractive educational offer, supplying opportunities for lifelong learning.

What distinguishes us is close cooperation with employers and government offices, which lead and direct the changes in various economic fields, in vocational training for job candidates and employees, as well as activation of the unemployed. The effectiveness of our educational work is ensured by providing vocational counseling for our clients.

The quality of our services is proved by numerous accreditations, certificates, licenses and evaluations conducted by well-known Polish and European institutions.

Educational offer

(academic year 2023/2024)

Our educational offer is characterized by emphasis on practical aspects of teaching, fulfilling the labour market demand and meeting societal expectations, taking into account the latest trends in technological and economic development.

The educational activity of the Union includes 4 fields:

  • » Higher education – 250 students
  • » Primary and secondary education of youth and adult students – 25 300 students
  • » Vocational training – 9 872 students
  • » Training and qualification courses for adults – 107 851 participants


(school year 2018/2019)

At present, the Union unites 22 Centres covering the whole territory of Poland with their own network of educational establishments.

We lead:

  • » 1 higher education institution
  • » 298 schools
  • » 185 vocational training establishments
  • » 19 training workshops
  • » 399 specialist laboratories

Schools of the Union

Our schools give the possibility of acquiring general and vocational knowledge.

We lead various types of schools, that are very common among both the young and the adult, while their graduates are vastly demanded on the labour market.

We facilitate our students acquiring additional qualifications during courses, that guarantee greater mobility on the labour market.

We provide a vocational counseling.

Our students may take both domestic and foreign practice.


In the years 1946-2018 the amount of participants at courses was 19 557 662 .

Our greatly various course offer gives the possibility of the vocational training in hundreds of professions and specialties and meets all of the expectations of potential clients. 

The graduates of qualification courses, that entitle to fulfill specified vocational tasks, may take examinations in front of the committee appointed by institutions, which regulate vocational training.

Vocational courses end with the internal examination in front of the committee appointed by the chairman of the Union.

Diplomas and certificates, confirming the high level of knowledge and qualifications of our graduates, are recognized both in Poland and abroad.

To facilitate our clients entering the European labour market we offer various courses monitored by well-known, international company TÜV SÜD. Our graduates obtain certificates in foreign languages signed by its representative, that are vastly useful for working abroad. 

Diplomas, certificates, authorizations

The education in schools leaded by the Centres, ends with obtaining State certificates or diplomas and with examinations in front of the examination committee (OKE).

Courses end with certificates compatible with the formula specified by the Ministry of National Education.

If the course prepares to a vocational examination, student takes it in front of the committee appointed by the office, that is able to confirm the authorization.

If the course prepares only for a profession – in front of the committee appointed by an organizer.

Certificates may be issued in the European languages. What is more, if a course is monitored, a graduate may obtain the TÜV SÜD certification, confirming the quality of training. It is vastly useful for everyone, who decides to work in the European Union countries.

Bank of educational programs

For providing the education in form of courses we have the bank of about 1200 own educational programs. It has dynamic and open structure, because ,in order to meet the needs of the labour market, new programs are prepared, while contemporary programs are being successively actualized.

The thematic range of programs enable to prepare for fulfilling basic vocational tasks as well as for confirming vocational qualifications in front of State committees.

Their authors are highly qualified specialists and experienced teachers.

Quality policy

On the educational market the Centres are mostly identified by the reliability due to the long-term experience. This is the base of our educational services’ quality confirmed by independent certification and accreditation institutions.

The Union owns the functional system, that meets the standards of ISO 9000, educational accreditations of various institutions and numerous local rewards and distinctions for our educational policy.

Teaching staff

In our schools teachers are highly educated professionals with pedagogical background, while vocational courses are leaded by instructors experienced in a proper field. We provide high level of education and students’ welfare due to an internal pedagogical supervision. 

Both the Union and the Centres lead vocational trainings for their teaching staff. This activities ensure the timeliness of vocational and didactic knowledge of our teachers.

Investment expenditures

Our vocational training institutions and schools generally have they own didactic base. It helps in organizing specialist laboratories for the most popular specializations as well as in merging vocational theory with practice. We are very proud to have innovative gastronomic, hairdressing, cosmetic, electro-electronic, health and safety, transportation of hazardous materials and welding laboratories.

The investment expenditures can be divided into:

  • » Expenditures on fixed assets – Buildings and constructions, machines and technical devices, equipment, tools and instruments and other investments.
  • » Expenditures on innovative activity – Research and developmental works, the purchase of set technology (documentation, rights etc.), the costs of the purchasing and the adaptation of software, the staff training and internal trainings related to new techniques, the development of procedures, adjustment of the offer due to the needs of various markets, advertisements, etc. 

Domestic cooperation

The Union, from its beginning, leads and develops various forms of the cooperation with domestic resorts and central offices, like: the Ministry of National Education, the Ministry of Economy, the Ministry of Labour and Social Policy, the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Agriculture, the Ministry of Infrastructure and Development, the Technical Inspectorate, the Energy Regulatory Office etc.

Raising the level of methodical education serves the close cooperation with scientific institutions like: the Educational Research Institute, the Institute of Labour and Social Studies, the Welding Institute in Gliwice, the Institute for Sustainable Technologies in Radom, the Motor Transport Institute etc.

Special offer of the Vocational Education Centres (ZDZ)

Our offer includes educational and counseling activities also for people with special needs:

  • » Disabled – 1 161 people
  • » Unemployed – 5 994 people
  • » Imprisoned – 537 people

Our participation in vocational training for the unemployed, during recent years, was about 600 000 participants.

International cooperation

The international cooperation includes the exchange of experiences, organizing vocational seminaries and creating relationships due to the implementation of projects funded by EU. They are related mainly to the cooperation in realization of specified purposes and provide exchanges and traineeships for beneficiaries of this projects in countries that are involved in the implementation.

Several Vocational Education Centres (ZDZ), leading training and production workshops, maintain commercial contacts with many contractors and foreign recipients from EU and other countries.

Implementation of domestic and European projects

The Centres are distinguished by the fact of great activity in applying for financial funds from the EU. Only in the recent 4 years, due to various projects, we trained about 60 000 participants.

Moreover, the Centres actively participated in many international programs and projects related to  education, like Erasmus+, Cedefop etc.