For the skilled workers of tomorrow

BIBB President Esser: "Periods abroad increase the attractiveness of dual vocational education and training"

The shortage of skilled workers is now one of the major challenges facing the German economy and society and, according to forecasts, is set to worsen. High-quality and attractive vocational education and training is seen as a key potential solution to meeting future demand for skilled workers and therefore achieving important economic and socio-political goals such as in terms of the energy transition and climate change.

"We must therefore urgently work towards making vocational education and training in Germany more attractive in order to persuade more young people to opt for training," explains Friedrich Hubert Esser, President of the Federal Institute for Vocational Education and Training (BIBB) as he looks ahead to the new forthcoming training year. "One factor in increasing the attractiveness is offering integrated periods abroad during vocational education and training."

A study conducted by the National Agency "Education for Europe" at the Federal Institute for Vocational Education and Training (NA at BIBB) shows, for example, that companies see the offer of periods abroad as a competitive advantage in the training market. Placements abroad are becoming a key element in attracting and retaining the next generation of skilled workers.

To ensure financing is in place, public sector funding is available. The largest funding programme is the European Union's Erasmus+ programme. A total of €28.4 billion is available for the period from 2021 to 2027, of which at least €4.3 billion is for vocational education and training. The focus of "AusbildungWeltweit" ("VETWorldwide"), the programme run by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), is mobility outside Europe. Both programmes are implemented in the NA at BIBB. While periods abroad during training were temporarily severely restricted due to the coronavirus pandemic, there is now clear evidence of a recovery. Application numbers have more than doubled for Erasmus+, and there has also been a significant rise in demand for AusbildungWeltweit.

"With a properly prepared funding application, the opportunities are very good for any training company, Chamber or vocational school seeking to obtain funding," explains Esser. "We can therefore only encourage training companies to utilize the opportunities available in terms of funding and guidance in order to make training more attractive through learning periods abroad. In this way trainees also acquire specialist, intercultural and personal skills which in turn represent a significant added value for the company."

The next application period for the Erasmus+ programme ends on 4 October 2022. Funding applications for AusbildungWeltweit can be submitted up until 13 October 2022. Training companies, Chambers or vocational schools which are interested can contact the NA at BIBB or other advisory centres. For example, "Erasmus+-Beratern Berufsbildung" ("Erasmus+ VET advisers") is a network of regional structures for the provision of advice.


meinauslandspraktikum (German)

On the homepage, trainees will also find all the information about periods abroad in vocational education and training and a database of all VET grant programmes.

Source: (press release of the German Federal Institute for Vocational Education and Training), revised by iMOVE, December 2022