Impact of coronavirus pandemic must be evened out

Playing catch-up in the training market

Far fewer people found their way on to training in the skilled trades during the year impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. The number of training contracts is now rising again. In the view of skilled trades president Wollseifer, policymakers also have a responsibility here. Speaking to the Deutsche Presse-Agentur news agency in Berlin, he said: "The goal is that, by the end of the year, we will have the same level as we did before the 2019 coronavirus pandemic. If there are ongoing negative impacts as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, then the Federal Government must pay the training bonuses for longer."

In June 2021, there was a marked increase in the number of completed training contracts compared to the same month in the previous year – this was a low month however due to the pandemic. "We continue to do all we can to catch up and attract even more young people to vocational training," commented Wollseifer. "There continues to be a lot of movement in the market. Young people could also still start training in September and October." Employers, unions and the federal government had announced a "Summer of vocational education and training" and are promoting this with the slogan: "#AusbildungSTARTEN" (STARTtraining).

The President of the German Central Association of Skilled Trades (ZDH) continued: "During the year impacted by the coronavirus pandemic, we were suddenly faced with the enormous challenge of bringing businesses together with young people. This was because training fairs, company visits and placements were not possible." He explained that this was a major reason why fewer young people found their way on to training in the skilled trades. "Yet the fall in the skilled trades was actually a lot less compared to the economy as a whole. This was due to the huge efforts made by all skilled trades organisations and companies."

More climate protection, more energy efficiency, more e-mobility

Vocational education and training (VET) needs greater support more generally. Over the next three to four years they will otherwise be a distinct shortage of skilled workers, explains Wollseifer. "In all of the parties' programme announcements over recent weeks, far too little consideration is being given to the importance of the advancement and promotion of vocational training. More climate protection, more energy efficiency, more e-mobility, smart homes, e-health: all of this is only possible with more craftspeople."

In the view of the German Central Association of Skilled Trades (ZDH), the parties must take far greater notice of the fact that much more involvement in vocational education and training is needed – which includes financial involvement – if the projects and plans they are presenting for the future are to succeed.

"It cannot be the case that education and training centres continue to be treated so badly compared to other educational institutions," says Wollseifer. "The Federal Government and the federal states need to invest much more here in the future of our young people." He added that the master craftsman examination needs to be provided, in its entirety, free of charge. "It is absurd that you can study through to the end of your degree completely free of charge, but that those wanting to complete advanced training in the VET sector have to pay. That is not fair. And it needs to change."

Source: (website of the German newspaper Merkur), revised by iMOVE, March 2022