Dual training attractive even during pandemic

The new training year is commencing - during the coronavirus pandemic. Nevertheless, despite this challenging period for companies and for trainees, dual training remains attractive. What is the current situation in the training market? Is it still worth applying? 

How is the coronavirus pandemic impacting on the training market?

The training market has not escaped unaffected by the coronavirus pandemic and the restrictions necessary for coping with it. Training fairs and interviews were unable to take place and, in many companies, significant uncertainty remains regarding how the economic situation will develop. As could be expected, the training year is commencing with some hesitancy.

There has been a fall in the number of applicants and the number of training positions on offer. According to data from the Federal Employment Agency, the number of applicants at the turn of the month (July/August) fell by approximately 8.4 per cent compared to the previous year. The figure for training positions was around 8.1 per cent lower.

At the same time, in the last month alone, around 22,000 young people were still looking for an apprenticeship; this compares with just under a further 16,600 training position vacancies being reported. 

What is the Federal Government doing to improve the current training situation?

The economic situation is the key factor for companies in determining readiness to provide training and therefore in determining the chances of young people making a successful start to their professional lives. All the more important, therefore, are the numerous support programmes which the Federal Government has introduced for companies over recent weeks and months.

The Federal Government's economic stimulus and future technologies package is of particular importance. It contains the €500 million support programme "Safeguard vocational training places". The initiative sets out to support small and medium-sized enterprises and organisations in health and social care occupations, and to persuade them to continue and expand their provision of training places even in the crisis. For example, companies which have been particularly affected by the coronavirus pandemic will receive bonuses of up to €3,000 per trainee. 

Is it still worth applying for training position even now? 

In this crisis in particular, the training market is undergoing significant change. Some companies are still holding back, while at the same time many apprenticeship positions still remain unfilled. In some sectors and federal states, the training year does not start until September or October. With a late application, the opportunities are certainly still good for those able to be flexible in terms of the desired occupation and training location.

Federal Minister of Education, Anja Karliczek, is keen for people to focus on training despite the coronavirus. They should "search for and enquire about a training position, and introduce themselves personally." The minister explains that those who complete good quality training "can expect good job opportunities and chances of promotion".

Is further assistance available to strengthen vocational education and training?

The Federal Government is enhancing the advancement and career opportunities of employed persons. Those seeking to complete further training as master craftsmen and industrial master craftsmen, as technicians, business economists, or state-funded nursery school teachers have been better supported since the start of August. Under the new and further improved Upgrading Training Assistance Act (Aufstiegs-BAföG), maintenance support is now available as a full grant. For a family with two children, this can be up to around €1,600 per month. And if the further training needs to be interrupted due to the coronavirus crisis, the funding will still be paid.

What is the information campaign on dual training all about?

The Federal Ministry of Education and Research launched a comprehensive information campaign at the start of the new training year. The aim is to draw attention to the attractiveness of vocational education and training - especially during pandemics. The new training year began under the shadow of the pandemic. In these current times in particular, it is therefore all the more important to highlight the high-quality and significance of dual training in Germany. Federal Minister of Education, Anja Karliczek, sees vocational education and training as a way to "secure our economic power" even in the crisis.

To prevent the current pandemic turning into a training crisis, the Ministry of Education has launched an information campaign. Its slogan is "Dual vocational education and training - making those great who make us great". The campaign shows the benefits of vocational education and training, and is aimed at parents, companies and the general public. 

What is the main focus of the campaign?

One focus are the improvements in the new Vocational Training Act which entered into force at the start of the year. A minimum remuneration for trainees, transparent qualification descriptions for the advanced training sector, and improved part time regulations have applied since it became law. The new portal also has useful information about the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic on vocational education and training. 

In order to generate interest in dual training for young people and to encourage them in this direction, there is also a series of success stories. Prominent personalities such as Michelin-starred chef Tim Raue, international footballer Johanna Elsig and influencer André Hamann describe their careers which, for all of them, included vocational education and training. Federal Minister of Education, Anja Karliczek, also explains in a video why dual training was the right route for her personally.

Source: bundesregierung.de (website of the German Federal Government), revised by iMOVE, Oktober 2020