Dual vocational training
Germany’s low level of youth unemployment compared to other European countries is partly the result of its system of dual vocational training, which differs from the purely school education that forms the route into working life in most countries. After finishing school, around half of young people in Germany embark on a course of training in one of the 326 occupations that are currently state-recognised and for which accredited vocational training is required within the framework of the dual system. The young people receive practical training within their companies on three to four weekdays, while on the other day(s) they receive theoretical instruction at a vocational school or college. A dual vocational training course generally lasts between two and three and a half years and the students receive pay. Every year in Germany around 500,000 new trainees learn a new profession, about two thirds of them through the dual vocational training scheme.
Guaranteed high quality of training
Multiple stakeholders in Germany support the dual vocational training system and ensure its quality: Hence chambers of commerce provide advice to companies providing training and assess their in-house resources, while also organizing examinations. Professional associations and employer organisations negotiate the level of remuneration during training and are involved in setting the standards for the vocational training. Government funds and oversees the public vocational training system and also supports unemployed or disadvantaged young people in their search for a place.
Major interest in the German model
This linkage of theoretical knowledge and practical professional experience is in great demand amongst many companies. Internationally too, many countries are currenting adapting the German system of dual vocational training. Due to the high demand, the German Federal government has established a central office for international collaboration in the area of vocational training (German Office for International Cooperation in Vocational Education and Training, acronym: GOVET) that is attached to the German Federal Institute for Vocational Education and Training (BIBB).
All the enquiries on the German vocational training system flow into GOVET – in 2019 alone the office received 239 enquiries from abroad. As part of international collaboration, the German Federal Government supports partner countries in the development of their own vocational training systems and thus improves opportunities for young people to learn a qualified profession. The framework for this is the Federal Government’s strategy for international cooperation in vocational education and training, which was agreed upon in 2013 and updated in 2019.