Import des deutschen dualen Ausbildungssystems ist leichter gesagt als getan

Deutschlands Kultur der dualen Berufsausbildung hat es nie an Bewunderern gefehlt, darunter auch britische Bildungsminister, die chinesische kommunistische Partei und die Tochter des derzeitigen US-Präsidenten.

Importing Germany's dual education system is easier said than done

Germany's culture of dual educational and vocational training programmes has never been short of admirers, including British education secretaries of the present and the past, the Chinese communist party and the daughter of the current US president.

In a 2017 interview Ivanka Trump praised the German system, whereby employers and local authorities cooperate to provide a "two-track" apprenticeship as an alternative to purely academic higher education, as "a great trailblazer".

Its advantages are hard to ignore: around half of each year group in Germany do not go on to complete a university degree but a three-year apprenticeship with a company, of which they spent about 50 per cent learning "on the job" and 50 per cent at a vocational training school.

The 325 recognised dual training occupations are wide-ranging, including carers for the elderly, bakers, booksellers, architectural draughtsmen or bow makers.

Through the mix of practical and theory-based learning, trainees acquire skills that tend to be well matched to the needs of employers and can be plugged into businesses with relative ease: before the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, youth unemployment in Germany hit a record low of 5.6 per cent.

Yet if the benefits of the dual system are apparent, copying "a world-class, German-style further education system" into another labour market, especially the British one, is more easily said than done.

For one, the German dual system requires a high level of complex coordination between the employers who pay the trainee’s wages, the federal states that fund vocational training schools tailored to the needs of local industry, the unions that feed into the curriculum, and the chambers of trade and industry that carry out the exams at the end.

Previous British attempts to build up German-style dual systems – New Labour's "14-19 Diplomas" and David Cameron's ambitious apprenticeship targets – struggled to build up the educational infrastructure required to go with it.

"One problem Britain has is that it doesn't have the same tradition of social partners sitting down together and building a consensus", said Hubert Ertl, vice president of the German Federal Institute for Vocational Education and Training.

Most British unions don't have the capacity to feed expertise into training programmes, Ertl said, and while there are big employers like Rolls Royce and British Gas who do, there isn't an equivalent tradition of employers' umbrella organisations developing training programmes for their entire sector.

In addition, not just Britain but Germany too is experiencing a gravitational pull that draws more and more young people towards universities rather than apprenticeships.

The number of students enrolled at German universities rose to a record 2.9 million last year, while the number of newly signed twin-track training contracts has declined for several years in a row. In 2019, as many as 58,000 apprenticeship training positions remained empty.

One reason for the trend, labour market experts speculate, is that academic degrees promise more flexibility, which is one of the downsides of the dual system.

While Germany's dual training programmes produce highly specialised workers that can be perfectly matched to a sector's current needs, they can struggle when digitalisation or globalisation throws that sector into crisis, as German printers, tailors or photo laboratory technicians have discovered in recent years.

Quelle: The Guardian,, gefunden im Juli 2020