Karliczek: digitalisation and sustainability programme compulsory in future for trainees

Federal government, federal states, employers and trade unions adopt joint minimum standards for all training occupations

Stakeholders responsible for vocational education and training have agreed that, in future, the skills from the areas of digitalisation and sustainability will be delivered in every training occupation. To support this, they have adopted new "standard occupational profiles". Federal Minister of Education and Research Anja Karliczek explained.

"Overcoming the Coronavirus crisis and its impacts is currently dominating all our activities. This is also affecting large parts of vocational education and training. Despite this, however, we should not lose sight of the period following the crisis. Following the health crisis, we shall once again have an increased focus on the digitalisation of the world of work, and on climate protection. In the future, companies will also need well-qualified staff in order to meet the challenges of digitalisation and climate change.

We have therefore incorporated the themes of digitalisation, environmental protection and sustainability within the compulsory programme of all dual training courses. These will be delivered throughout the entire training period together with the specialist knowledge of the specific occupation. This will make trainees even more prepared for the requirements of the future.

Let us take the bakery apprentice as an example here. An established part of their training in the future will be how sustainable products are processed in baking and how baked goods can be packaged in a way which is both environmentally friendly and ensures the goods will keep. At the end of the training period, this minimum standard will be examined together with the specialist knowledge.

We can also use this step to help make the training more appealing again. Young people in particular are interested in digitalisation, environmental protection and sustainability. We can now say to them: in future all training will reflect global reality.

In order to structure training with a greater focus on sustainability and digitalisation, all those responsible for vocational education and training - the federal government, ministers of education and cultural affairs of the federal states, employer associations and trade unions - have pulled together. As a result, the new minimum standards can be effectively delivered in all areas of training - both company-based and in vocational schools. The new and promising minimum standards demonstrate the success of a long tradition of collaboration between stakeholders in vocational education and training."


Standard occupational profiles is the name given to training content which is identical in all dual training occupations. They are delivered throughout the entire training period in the context of the subject-specific skills and are also a topic covered in the examinations. They must also be regarded as minimum requirements in each individual training application.

Standard occupational profiles have existed before, yet that content was no longer current and has therefore been updated. It is mainly the changed training requirements - due to the increasing significance of environmental protection and sustainability as well as the digital change processes - which have been taken into account in all training occupations.

Four new standard occupational profiles were developed in a working group of the Board at the Federal Institute for Vocational Education (BIBB), in which —alongside the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) - the Department for Economic Affairs, employers' and employees' associations, federal states (cultural affairs area) and the BIBB itself were represented. The standard occupational profiles are: 

  • Environmental protection and sustainability
  • Digitalised world of work
  • Organisation of the training company, vocational education and training as well as employment and collective bargaining law.
  • Health and safety at work

The new standards apply to all dual training regulations which enter into force from 1 August 2021. The above working group is additionally planning a BIBB board recommendation to all companies to still provide training in accordance with the standards, even in training occupations where the new standards have not yet been enacted.

Source: press release of the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research, revised by iMOVE, Oktober 2020