2012 Report on Vocational Education and Training: Training situation continues to improve
The situation on the training market has continued to improve for young people in Germany. More training contracts were concluded than in the previous year. At the same time, the impact of demographic change is becoming more and more evident. It is increasingly difficult for companies to fill vacancies for apprentices. At the same time, however, a large number of young people are unable to find a training place directly after school. We need these young people to ensure that there are enough skilled staff in Germany. Clear improvements have been made in this field compared to previous years.
Situation on the training market
Training under the dual system is highly regarded in Germany. One of the main advantages of the dual training system is its proximity to the labour market. The dual system enables businesses to train their future employees according to their own needs. A large number of apprentices are taken on as employees after completing their training, which is a vital precondition for leading independent lives and participating in society.
According to EUROSTAT, the group of under 25-year-olds had the lowest unemployment rate in Germany in February 2012, at 8.2%.
The training system's close links to the labour market also mean that the situation on the training market strongly depends on the economic situation. The training market has benefited from the recent positive economic developments. Furthermore, joint efforts of the Federal Government, Länder, and businesses contributed to further improving the training situation for young people in 2011.
More training contracts than in the previous year: Considerable increase in the number of contracts with companies
The total number of newly concluded training contracts across Germany (i.e. with companies and with other institutions) rose by 10,180 or 1.8% to a total of 570,140 in 2011. The increase would have been even higher were it not for a deliberate reduction in non-company training centres (-25.7%). The number of training contracts with companies increased by 20,729 or 4.0% to a total of 539,646 contracts across Germany.
Various indicators used by the Report on Vocational Education to evaluate the training situation suggest that the situation is improving for young people.
More vacant training places than unplaced applicants
Once again, at the end of the training year there were more vacant training places (29,689) than unplaced applicants (11,550). The surplus of training places increased by an additional 10,789 over the previous year (surplus of training places in 2010: 7,350; surplus of training places in 2011: 18,139), which is a positive development. Not all vacant training places could be filled, since young people's preferences with regard to occupation or region did not always match the vacancies.
Fewer applicants still looking for a placement on 30 September despite having taken up an alternative
The number of applicants who had taken up an alternative to vocational training (e.g. prevocational training measures, internship, company-based introductory training, etc.) but were still looking for a training place and for a placement by the Federal Employment Agency (BA) decreased from 72,342 in 2010 to 65,190 (-7,152 or -9.9%).
Fewer unplaced applicants from previous years
The Federal Government launched specific measures for young people who need targeted support in order to respond to the growing number of unplaced applicants from previous years. These joint efforts have been successful. In 2011, the number of applicants from previous reporting years fell to 174,285. This is a decrease by 10,460 or 5.7% compared to 2010
. However, much remains to be done. Unplaced applicants from previous years are an important target group of the National Pact for Career Training and Skilled Manpower Development 2011-2014.
Number of young people entering the transition phase drops below 300,000
The transition phase provides young people who do not fulfil the requirements to start training or have not found a training place for some other reason with an opportunity to improve their personal chances of finding a training place. In previous years, the difficult situation on the training market had led to a considerable increase in the number of young people who took up transition measures. This was due to the fact that these measures were not only used by genuinely disadvantaged young people but also by young people who have a "disadvantage on the market", meaning applicants who failed to find a training place.
The number of people in the so-called transition phase has decreased in recent years as the situation on the training market has eased due to demographic and economic developments and the activities of the Federal Government and the business community. In 2011, the number of young people entering the transition phase fell below 300,000 for the first time (to 294,294). This is a decrease by 25,719 or 8.0% compared to 2010. When compared to 2005, the number of people entering the transition phase has fallen by as much as 123,353 (-29.5%).
For the very first time, the 2012 Report on Vocational Education also includes a forecast by the Federal Institute for Vocational Education and Training (BIBB) on future developments in the transition phase. This forecast shows that eliminating the transition phase is unrealistic even under the most favourable developments on the training market. This makes it even more important to consistently pursue the aim of increasing the efficiency of measures in the transition phase in order to facilitate the transition between school and training for young people who need support. An important contribution is made, for example, by the "Education Chains
Qualification and prospects - education chains leading to training qualifications
The Federal Government, in cooperation with the Länder, launched the "Qualification and Prospects - Education Chains Leading to Training Qualifications" initiative in 2010 to improve the links between schools, the transition phase and dual training. Its aim is to prevent school drop-outs and waiting times in the transition phase and to ensure that the vocational training system produces a sufficient number of young skilled staff. The initiative is based on early support and individual counselling. New and existing funding instrument are connected like the links of a chain.
It is increasingly difficult for companies to fill their apprenticeship positions
One indicator for this development is the considerable increase in training vacancies registered at the Federal Employment Agency by 10,084 or 51.4% to a total of 29,689.
Company surveys also show that it is increasingly difficult for businesses to find apprentices. According to the initial results of the BMBF-funded BIBB Qualification Panel 2011, more than one third of all companies (35%) offering training places for the 2010/2011 training year were unable to fill one or more of these places. It was particularly difficult for small enterprises and micro-enterprises.
It cannot be ruled out that companies that are repeatedly unable to fill their training vacancies will permanently withdraw from dual training and thus no longer make use of this important instrument to secure skilled personnel. The Report on Vocational Education shows that the share of companies that provide training fell to 22.5% in 2010. In the previous year, 23.5% of all companies provided training.
German business will soon need all young people
The impact of demographic change has been felt for some time now on the training market. In 2011, the number of general school graduates who were not qualified to enter higher education (main target group of vocational training) fell even further (-19,700 or -3.5% compared to 2010). Since 2005, the numbers have fallen by over 154,000.
The double Abitur year groups in Lower-Saxony and Bavaria and the discontinuation of military and alternative civilian service resulted in additional demand on the training market. However, this only had a marginal quantitative impact due to the fact that only a low percentage of Abitur holders are interested in taking up dual training.
The number of general school graduates in the new Länder who are not qualified to enter higher education will have stabilized at a low level by 2025. The numbers will continue to fall considerably in the old Länder, however. Since the number of graduates who are qualified to enter higher education will also fall in the medium to long term, the training market will have to face up to major challenges. It will be even more important in future to tap all potential - high achievers as well as low achievers - to secure a sufficient number of skilled personnel in Germany.
The integration of people with a migrant background into training and labour market must be improved
A great deal remains to be done to improve the training opportunities of young people with a migrant background. This group is still strongly underrepresented in vocational training. In 2010, the percentage of young foreigners pursuing vocational training was 33.5% (2009: 31.4%), only about half that of young Germans at 65.4% (2009: 64.3%).
For migrants, vocational training is the central instrument for social integration alongside a school education. In view of demographic developments and to avoid a possible shortage of skilled labour, German industry will need all young people. One of the priorities the Federal Government has set is to reduce existing barriers to training and employment for young people with a migrant background. Young people with a migrant background are therefore one of the main target groups of the National Pact for Career Training and Skilled Manpower Development in Germany 2010-2014.
But people who have already acquired a vocational qualification abroad will also find it easier to use their qualifications on the German labour market in the future. With its Recognition Act
, the Federal Government has adopted a law to facilitate procedures for the recognition of foreign vocational qualifications in Germany. The law entered into force on 1 April 2012.
Vocational education and training - practically unbeatable
In 2011, the Federal Government once again provided new impetus to strengthen dual vocational training. This includes the information campaign "Vocational Training - Practically Unbeatable
", which was jointly initiated by the BMBF and BMWi.
The aim is to attract high-achieving young people to initial and continuing vocational training with the help of various instruments such as info tours across Germany, poster campaigns, a target-group oriented website and a social media campaign and targeted information on attractive training occupations, continuing vocational training and relevant Federal Government funding programmes.
Three infomobiles, one mission: "Vocational Education and Training - Practically Unbeatable." The infotour 2012 traveled all over Germany from May until October 2012, offering information on the opportunities of initial and continued vocational education and training. The result: 91 stops, 37 cities, and around 54,000 visitors.
Since 1 April 2012, opportunities to have foreign professional qualifications recognized in Germany have improved significantly. The Federal Government's Recognition Act introduces the legal right to have qualifications gained abroad assessed in comparison to the equivalent profession in Germany. The first year of experience shows that the new law is a success.
The Federal Ministry of Education and Research has been supporting the development of Germany's training structure through its JOBSTARTER programme since 2006. Over 280 innovative projects are being funded. All these projects are helping to create additional traineeships and are offering various measures to support companies which either have no previous experience with training or which have grown weary of providing training. The JOBSTARTER projects have secured around 62,600 training positions to date, 43,400 of which have already been suitably filled (January 2013).
A standardized and comprehensive system of education and vocational training is a major reason for Germany's economic strength. Young people and companies can expect that their efforts in the field of education are part of a system which ensures access, quality, mobility, and capacity for innovation. This system is governed by the amended Vocational Training Act (BBiG), which also establishes the basis for further training at a high quality and nationally consistent level. Standardized requirements and examination rules ensure both the high qualification of employees and the economic success of businesses.