IHK survey shows continuing education and training is on the rise

The coronavirus crisis has shifted the focus even more on to vocational education and training. A survey by the Swabia Chamber of Industry and Commerce (IHK) shows that, for companies in the areas of production, commerce and services, employee training has not just been a high priority since the lockdown. 

Over recent years, vocational education and training has taken on much greater significance in Bavarian Swabia. In a survey across all regions and sectors, 80 per cent of companies stated that they were paying costs or releasing employees to support company-based continuing education and training. More than 60 percent of companies are actively approaching employees and recommending specific activities. "A cultural shift has taken place in the area of continuing education and training," explains Christine Neumann, an expert at Swabia IHK in the field of ensuring the supply of skilled labour. "Companies are taking responsibility for ensuring their skilled workers are ready for the future. Also, businesses today are increasingly using training provision as a tool for recruiting and retaining staff."

Personnel development and updating knowledge are key drivers

The fact is that the economy is changing rapidly, new technologies keep coming and the workforce needs to be trained and ready for this. Today, employees themselves see it as important to be able to continue training in their job both professionally and personally, explains Christine Neumann. "A culture of lifelong learning is becoming increasingly established." 80 per cent of companies which rely on continuing education and training do so in order to qualify their employees for higher-level positions or for new tasks. 72 per cent of companies engaged in continuing education and training stated they wanted to keep their employees' level of knowledge up to date. Training in the areas of management and leadership are popular, however, there is also demand for IT knowledge and for expertise covering all aspects of digitalisation - this is regardless of whether the training courses are face-to-face or online.

Important for attractiveness as an employer

In general, it is important for companies that their employees are open to new things. 90 per cent named willingness to change as one of the most important abilities which a future employee must have. For 72 per cent of respondents, the willingness to engage in lifelong learning is also key, as is the secure handling of data (58 per cent). Christine Neumann is confident that: "over the coming years, continuing vocational education and training will continue to take on greater significance." On the one hand, this is because companies need to cope with the increasing demands placed on their employees. However, on the other hand, this is also because training provision makes companies attractive as employers. It is striking that, despite the high level of significance which companies attached to the provision of continuing education and training, only one third are aware of the funding opportunities such as those under the Qualification Opportunities Act.

Swabia IHK likewise supports young skilled workers engaged in continuing education and training by providing a scholarship. This year 90 new scholarship holders were accepted onto the programme, and the application period for the coming year is currently open. A range of measures supporting the attainment of professional qualifications, in-service courses of study or general training activities, for example personal development, are funded. Those interested who have completed the vocational education and training with a grade of at least 1.9 and who are under the age of 25 on the admission date of 1 January 2021 were able to apply to Swabia IHK for the continuing education training scholarship up until 11 September.

Source: allgaeuhit.de (website of the German radio station Allgäuhit), revised by iMOVE, Dezember 2020