Making sustainability tangible - with the VET Chain

Sustainability is slowly making its way into the training and framework curricula as a cross-cutting standard profile item in VET. In this context, GOVET has developed the "VET Chain" counselling tool, which celebrated its premiere as a specialist workshop at didacta 2024.

Although the implementation at both learning venues, company and school, is a challenge for training and teaching staff, it is also an opportunity to explore new room for manoeuvre. In this context, the German Office for International Cooperation in Vocational Education and Training GOVET has developed the "VET Chain" counselling tool, which celebrated its premiere as a specialist workshop at didacta 2024.

The socio-ecological transformation will not succeed without suitably qualified specialists. This means that vocational education and training has a responsibility to promote sustainability-related vocational skills. But what does this mean in concrete terms? One starting point for developing training concepts that promote sustainability is to look at entire supply chains, such as "from grain to bread".

Within the international department of the Federal Institute for Vocational Education and Training (BIBB), an interactive tool for visualising vocational education and training along the supply chain was developed under the leadership of GOVET. The motivation and objective behind the development was to sensitise national and international voactional education and training (VET) stakeholders to these training situations, often in a global context. When working with the tool as a team, all those involved - from trainees to educational planners - receive valuable impulses and starting points for their professional practice and for the conceptualisation and integration of content.

At didacta, Germany's largest trade fair on education, almost 20 participants had the opportunity to test and use the tool in practice for the first time. In a lively exchange, they explored sustainability in vocational education and training using an exemplary supply chain (in this case industrial bread production).

By simulating the production and supply chain and considering various questions and perspectives, the workshop participants were able to develop an understanding of the complexity of integrating sustainability into vocational training and ideas for concrete measures. The many opportunities that lie in addressing the topic of sustainability in training also became clear: It is conceivable that certain approaches and concepts (e.g. organic farming) could be addressed more in companies and vocational schools; likewise, trainees could be made more aware of the entire supply chain (e.g. through an apprentice exchange between bakery salespeople and farmers), and practical company projects could also focus on the topic (such as calculating the energy requirements of ovens in large bakery businesses).

The participants of the specialist workshop, who came from different national and international contexts, are the first VET Chain multipliers to be given the opportunity to use the interactive advisory tool in their own projects or organisations. In addition to the thematic focus on sustainable vocational education and training, VET Chain also offers the opportunity for enriching impulses for systemic adjustments in the respective training processes.

Looking for interested parties

GOVET is looking for other interested parties who would like to test VET Chain either online or in person in their vocational training context. Please contact GOVET at

In future, the tool will also be available for free download under a Creative Commons licence. Employees from the BIBB's international department can also be requested for workshops.

Source: GOVET - German Office for International Cooperation in Vocational Education and Training,, 04.03.2024