Dual vocational education and training becomes fit for the future

Federal Government passes amendment to the Vocational Training Act.

The Federal Government has passed the Vocational Training Act amendment. Federal Minister of Education and Research Anja Karliczek explained: "We are known for dual vocational education and training in our country. It is very highly regarded around the world. We also wish to make this level of success possible in the future. The Vocational Training Act amendment is a key step in this regard. For 50 years, the Vocational Training Act has provided a reliable framework for dual vocational education and training. Dual vocational education and training is now becoming even more attractive, flexible and international. 

My concern here is also the value attached to it. For this reason we are introducing a minimum remuneration for trainees. Trainees get involved in all companies with real commitment. They deserve recognition for this, including financial recognition. The minimum remuneration also allows us to strengthen the partnership between unions and employer’s associations as collective bargaining agreements take precedence over the minimum remuneration.

Today, for training to be attractive, it must offer flexibility. We are therefore making vocational education and training on a part-time basis easier. What was previously only possible for high performers is now an option for all trainees. This opens up dual training to new target groups and enables us to attract more young people to this training pathway.

For me it is important that after the training qualification comes advancement. We shall again also be improving opportunities in this regard. We shall also be making clear improvements to vocational education and training at higher levels. We are introducing three standardised advanced training levels. For these we shall be using qualification descriptions which are also easily understood abroad. This generates transparency and increases the chances of international mobility and also career opportunities. The new descriptions are: Certified professional specialist, Bachelor professional, Master professional. The message they send is clear: vocational and academic education and training are equivalent. Both training pathways offer the very best prospects, and both lead to vocational success.

The Vocational Training Act amendment represents a strong package of measures. With this, the Bundestag – the national parliament – is laying down a clear marker as regards the importance of dual vocational education and training for our country. It is now up to the federal states in the Bundesrat – the parliament of the federal states’ governments – to ensure that the amendment enters into force on 1 January 2020."


The Vocational Training Act (Berufsbildungsgesetz – BBiG) is considered to be basic law for vocational education and training in Germany. It entered into force on 1 September 1969. It regulates the rights and obligations of trainees and training companies, the definition of learning content and the organisation of the examination system associated with this. Its regulatory scope also includes advanced vocational training, for example for the master craftsman and specialist qualifications and for numerous other higher-level vocational education and training qualifications.

In 2005, the Vocational Training Act was extensively revised for the first time. The cabinet passed the current Vocational Training Act amendment on 15 May 2019. Following its passing today by the German national parliament, it will be discussed by the parliament of the federal states' governments in November. Subject to their approval, it will enter into force on 1 January 2020.

In addition to the minimum remuneration, the broadening of part-time vocational education and training and the consolidation of advanced vocational education and training, the Vocational Training Act amendment also provides for greater permeability between two and three or three-and-a-half-year training occupations, improved provisions for legally valid and high-quality examinations as well as simplification of procedures and reduced bureaucracy.

Source: bmbf.de (press release of the German Ministry of Education and Research, revised by iMOVE, February 2020