Using training to cushion the adverse impacts of the coronavirus crisis

The Alliance for Initial and Continuing Education and Training wants to use dual training to cushion the impacts of the coronavirus crisis. Their measures include a bonus for companies who take on trainees from insolvent companies.

Representatives of the Federal Government, the Federal Employment Agency, the federal states, the Federation of German Employers' Associations (BDA), Federal Association of Liberal Professions (BFB), Chambers of Commerce and Industry (DIHK) and German Confederation of Skilled Crafts (ZDH) business associations, and the trade unions have, under the chairmanship of Federal Minister for Economic Affairs Peter Altmaier, adopted a joint declaration of the Alliance for Initial and Continuing Education and Training in view of the coronavirus crisis. They wish to ensure that trainees are able to continue their training and sit their examinations despite the currently difficult situation. In addition, according to a joint press release, they have set the target of also being able to provide sufficient training positions over the coming training years.

Alliance partner measures

Among other things, the alliance partners agreed on a recruitment bonus for a fixed period for those companies taking on trainees from insolvent companies. In order to ensure stability in the 2020/21 training year, companies should also be able to increasingly take advantage of collaborative training schemes and contract-based training. Alliance partners are also seeking to advise and arrange placements between young people and companies in a more targeted manner - also by making use of more digital formats. The aim is also to continue monitoring the medium and long-term effects of the pandemic and where necessary to take further measures in order to ensure training market stability.

Meeting provides "positive impetus"

Holger Schwannecke, General Secretary of (ZDH, supports easing the pressure on all training companies affected by the coronavirus crisis – for example by means of a training grant. In the view of Holger Schwannecke, the Alliance for Initial and Continuing Education and Training has "provided a positive impetus" with its meeting. He hopes that the measures agreed can be used to contribute towards securing the commitment to training from companies and craft trade companies. He added that matching in the training market would very soon need to become the focus. "The Alliance partners are therefore calling for delayed career guidance activities to be completed in schools as soon as possible in coordination with local partners and with the additional use of digital formats," explains the General Secretary of the ZDH. This should involve a mixture of attendance in small groups and virtual offers. He explained that the chambers and craft trade associations were already active in this respect with webinars, WhatsApp consultations and the digitalisation of their advice and information provision.

A recruitment bonus sends “the right signal”

The ZDH General Secretary regards the recruitment bonus for companies which take on trainees from insolvent companies as "the right signal". He explained that if the situation on the training market worsens, then a programme is planned for a fixed period which offers companies the opportunity to transfer parts of their training to inter-company vocational training centres. The aim is for training to be continued in the training company as quickly as possible.

Easing pressure on all training companies

Schwannecke maintains that pressure on training urgently needs to be reduced on the whole. He explains that, in this respect, the action the government is taking should be judged positively—the government is checking ways to support those small and medium-sized training companies which have been commercially impacted by the coronavirus pandemic and despite the difficult situation are maintaining their training provision - "for example by means of a training grant".

Source: German Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs, revised by iMOVE, August 2020