Significance and contribution of VET in the Corona crisis

Employees with vocational qualifications are contributing significantly to maintaining the German economy and to ensuring that fundamental basic needs are met. According to President Friedrich Hubert Esser, this is also shown in a recent publication by the Federal Institute for Vocational Education and Training (BIBB).

Vocational education and training (VET) form the backbone of the economy and of the support provided to the population. Qualifications and competencies delivered through vocational education and training in particular are contributing to safeguarding those sectors of the economy essential to our survival. It is not only in times of crisis, however, that we need occupations which provide support and maintain structures. All VET stakeholders are needed in future to make these occupations even more attractive and accepted, and to help them gain their deserved level of recognition in society - and not just during a crisis. Current discussion around special payments and increased remuneration over the long term are a step in the right direction.

Work in so-called system-relevant occupations needs to be safeguarded in crises such as the current pandemic, but also in the case of natural and technical disasters or when vital systems fail. According to BIBB calculations using the 2015 micro census database, approximately 8 million people work in system-relevant occupations and sectors and in those critical to our infrastructure.

This includes occupations in the energy, water and disposal sectors, in food and hygiene, in IT and telecommunications, in the health, finance and business sectors, in the shipping and transportation sector, in the media, in government administration, in schools, in child and youth welfare services and in services supporting people with disabilities. Overall, the vast majority of system-relevant work is being carried out by workers with vocational qualifications.

According to a BIBB analysis, companies assess the potential for human work to be replaced by digital systems in the system-relevant sectors as relatively limited. From a business perspective, potential does exist to replace human work within agriculture, energy and water supply and in public administration. This does not apply in particular however to the education, healthcare and nursing sectors. According to feedback from companies, the potential for replacement within logistics and transport depends on the extent to which the use of automated driving systems is implemented.

Source: press release of the Federal Institute for Vocational Education and Training, revised by iMOVE, June 2020