At the official launch of the strategy in Berlin, Federal Minister of Education and Research Anja Karliczek stated: "The presentation of the National Continuing Training Strategy represents a milestone for continuing vocational training in Germany. We are seeking to establish a genuine continuing training culture. In-service continuing training needs to become part of everyday working life in future. Continuing training must be structured in a way which encourages employees to pursue further learning without overburdening them. One of the steps we will be undertaking is an innovation competition for the development of a "Digital platform for continuing vocational training". This will offer low-threshold access to lifelong learning opportunities.
We will also be making a considerable increase to the amount of funding available via the Upgrading Training Assistance Act in order to enable even more people to enter advanced training. The evaluation and certification of competences acquired via informal means will be comprehensively extended with a view to improving labour market opportunities for those without a vocational qualification. Our aspiration is the binding establishment of this validation procedure right across the country. One of the aims as far as companies are concerned is that mentors should be put in place to support the continuing training of their colleagues. This is just the beginning of a longer campaign. We wish to underline the future significance of continuing training."
Hubertus Heil, Federal Minister of Labour and Social Affairs, emphasised: "If we want to take advantage of the opportunities offered by the digital shift, Germany needs to invest more in training and continuing training. This is a linchpin for retaining the employability of workers, for preventing unemployment before it occurs in the wake of the changes ahead and for securing a supply of skilled workers at the same time. The National Continuing Training Strategy includes joint and specific arrangements between the Federal Government, the federal states, trade and industry and the unions. It sends out a clear signal that we are ready to embark on a new pathway. The National Continuing Training Strategy does not content itself with making abstract declarations of intent. It delivers stimuli and specific measures. These include the fundamental right to acquire a vocational qualification via the second-chance route, a significant increase in the continuing training guidance available from the Federal Employment Agency, and the funding of continuing training associations at a regional level. We will also be examining measures such as state-funded periods of education and training in order to secure new and good quality work for the future."
The Federal Government, the federal states, trade and industry, the trade unions and the Federal Employment Agency are using the National Continuing Training Strategy to pool their efforts in the fields of training and continuing training. Strategic partners will be aligning continuing training in Germany in such a way so as to enable structural change to be tackled successfully for each individual person, for trade and industry, and for society as a whole. This also represents a commitment to a new culture of continuing training in Germany, one which views continuing training as a self-evident component of life. The objective is to support the present and future labour force in the further development of their skills and competences as the world of work changes around them.
This focus on continuing vocational training means that the strategic partners will strive to make continuing training and the existing funding opportunities more transparent and more accessible to everyone whilst also expanding the amount of provision available. The aim is for groups of persons with below-average participation in continuing training to receive particular support. More assistance will also be given to small and medium-sized companies without large human resources departments in order to develop continuing training concepts.
The National Continuing Training Strategy is a central proposal of the coalition agreement and a main content focus of the Federal Government's Skilled Worker Strategy. The partners of the National Continuing Training Strategy will realise these goals via ongoing networking. A special committee will convene on a regular basis to coordinate and link the implementation activities. The Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs (BMAS) and the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) have commissioned the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) to provide technical evaluation research for the implementation process of the strategy by producing a country study on continuing vocational training in Germany.
A joint report will be presented in 2021. This will monitor the status of implementation and the objectives of the National Continuing Training Strategy and provide recommendations for further development where necessary.