Dual vocational training - A worthwhile investment for many enterprises

"For enterprises, meeting one's skilled labour needs remains the primary motive for providing in-house vocational training. However, firms are organising the training they provide more efficiently than in the past. This makes providing in-house vocational training - more than ever - a worthwhile investment for many enterprises, even when it initially incurs costs," stated Professor Dr. Reinhold Weiß, deputy president and head of research at the Federal Institute for Vocational Education and Training (BIBB) at the opening of the BIBB conference The Training Decision of Firms - Economic Research Approaches and Analysis, which was being held in Bonn.

According to surveys conducted by BIBB, the overall costs to enterprises for providing in-house vocational training declined between the years 2000 and 2007, Professor Weiß noted. "Companies are organising their training more cost-efficiently and assigning their trainees productive work more frequently and at an earlier point in their training."

In 2007, enterprises incurred an average of €15,288 per trainee and year in gross costs according to the findings of a representative BIBB survey of 3,000 companies in Germany. The gains that trainees generate through productive work have to be subtracted from these costs. This productive work had a value of €11,692 per trainee and year in 2007. Therefore, enterprises had to bear an average of €3,596 in net costs per trainee and year. These figures can vary greatly from region to region and sector to sector. Although the gross costs to enterprises rose by some ten per cent between 2000 and 2007, the gains that trainees generated through productive work increased by nearly 50 per cent during the same period. As a result, the net costs to enterprises declined by nearly 40 per cent in the course of seven years, from €6,033 in 2000 to €3,596 in the year 2007.

The gains generated by trainees increased particularly during the first two years of training. "This shows," Professor Weiß said, "that enterprises are incorporating trainees into actual company work processes much more than in the past and right from the start of their training. Sixty-two per cent of firms that provide in-company vocational training have taken or have introduced such measures; another ten per cent are planning to do so."

Other analyses show that many enterprises continue to have a strong interest in hiring the youths they have trained. According to the BIBB surveys, the hiring rate has remained stable at some 57 per cent in both 2000 and 2007. According to Professor Weiß, this "shows that enterprises continue to have a strong interest in training their own future skilled workers and are aware of the challenges that the demographic trend in Germany will bring."

Some 130 vocational training experts from Germany and abroad were attending the international conference at BIBB in Bonn from September 23rd to 24th. The conference marks the conclusion of the BIBB research project Costs and Benefits of In-company Vocational Training. The conference featured not only the findings from BIBB's project but also presentations and discussions of new international research projects from Great Britain, Switzerland and The Netherlands.

Source: Press Release by the Federal Institute for Vocational Education and Training (BIBB), www.bibb.de/en, September 2009