Full speed ahead!

New training regulations for inland shipping 

Transporting goods, transporting persons, planning trips, steering and navigating vessels, monitoring operational processes, maintaining hulls or acting in emergency situations – specialists in inland shipping need to have a very broad range of skills. These varied requirements have now been taken account of in two new training regulations: inland bargeman/woman at operational level with the main areas of focus on cargo shipping and passenger transport, and inland shipping captain at management level.

On behalf of the Federal Government, and together with the relevant Federal ministries and social partners and experts from company practice, the Federal Institute for Vocational Education and Training (BIBB) has comprehensively updated this vocational education and training for inland shipping. The new training regulations enter into force on 1 August 2022.

The first two years of training feature a large amount of common training content such as the use of vessel equipment, loading and unloading inland shipping as well as maintenance and quality assurance activities. The focus of the final year of training as an inland bargeman/woman is the maintenance of mechanical plants and ship's engines while the focus of the second part of the three-and-a-half-year training as inland shipping captain is navigation and steering a ship.

The two training regulations also contain the updated minimum requirements – which are also mandatory for all new training occupations – for the areas of "Organisation of the training company, vocational education and training as well as employment and collective bargaining law", "Health and safety at work", "Environmental protection and sustainability" and "Digitalised world of work". These are the so-called standard occupational profiles.

The updating of the two training occupations was initiated, among other things, by a legal change relating to the recognition of professional qualifications in inland shipping at European Union level. Since January 2022, new requirements have applied for crew ranks and boatmaster certificates which are now being implemented into national law.

Across Germany each year, a total of almost 400 skilled workers train across all training years, and all have good employment prospects. They work mainly in goods and passenger shipping. The skilled workers may also be employed in port operations and with port authorities, in the administration of waterways and shipping and with hydraulic engineering companies. Following the education and training, it is possible to take upgrading training leading to a qualification as certified master craftsman qualification in inland shipping or a state certified technician in shipping engineering.

The updated training regulations and the framework curriculum aligned with these, which has been developed by the Standing Conference of the Ministers of Education and Cultural Affairs (KMK) for the school-based section of the dual vocational education and training, replaces the existing regulation from 2005.

Source: bibb.de (press release by the German Federal Institute for Vocational Education and Training, BIBB), revised by iMOVE, September 2022