Germany’s two-track vocational training system is quite special internationally speaking. On completing school, approximately half of young people in Germany move on to learn one of the some 330 officially recognized vocations included in the Two-Track System. This entry into professional life differs from vocational training based only in colleges such as is customary in many other countries. The practical part of the course takes part on 3 or 4 days of the week in a company; the other 1 or 2 days are spent with specialist theoretical instruction in a vocational school. The courses take 2-3.5 years. In-company training is supported by courses and additional qualification facilities outside the companies. Training is financed by the companies, which pay the trainees/apprentices wages, while the government bears the costs of the vocational schools. Some 500,000 young people conclude new vocational training agreements under the two-track vocational training system each year Thanks to the Two-Track System, in Germany the number of young people without a profession or traineeship is comparatively low. This combination of theory and practical work guarantees that the craftsmen and skilled workers have prime qualifications. Vocational training is also a launchpad for a career that can, via advanced training, lead to participants becoming master craftsmen and women. Today, a qualification track is possible that via advanced training alongside the job can lead even as far as a university Master’s degree.
There is great international interest in the German vocational training system. One focus of the international vocational training cooperation activities by Bundesinstitut für Berufsbildung (BIBB) is to foster cooperation with partner institutes.