Vocational education and training increasingly focused on sustainability

Dercks: Many occupations becoming even more attractive, new offers in development

Climate protection and sustainability are changing all areas of economic activity. The German Chambers of Industry and Commerce (DHIK) point to the fact that these topics are affecting all occupations and, as a result, increasingly gaining importance in training and continuing education.

Young people in Germany are currently able to select from 324 training occupations. Explicit dual training in "energy transformation" is not among these. Instead, all offers address the issue of how to function in a more sustainable manner – and therefore also the operational aspects of environmental protection, energy efficiency and resource consumption.

"An industrial mechanic, for example, works in companies operating in different sectors – in wind turbine construction as well as in other traditional branches of industry," explains Achim Dercks, DIHK deputy managing director. "And the sustainability perspective also has a growing role to play, of course, in the context of procurement in commercial occupations."

Dercks explains that training is currently being updated in the four environmental occupations of "Sewage engineering technician", "Recycling and waste management technician", "Pipe, sewer and industrial service technician" and "Water supply engineering technician". "This is making these occupations even more attractive."

In higher-level vocational education and training, he adds, there is also specific continuing education relating to the opportunities and challenges ahead. "For example, the certified industrial supervisor specialising in chemistry understands the production process for technical gases – and therefore also for hydrogen." As further examples, he names additional qualification examinations from the chambers of industry and commerce (IHKs) in the area of motor vehicle high voltage technology. "These were developed a number of years ago."

The DIHK deputy managing director makes it clear that qualification offers in continuing vocational education and training are necessary for successfully managing the economic transformation in the direction of sustainability. "Pointers from the IHKs indicate a demand for training in particular in the areas of hydrogen, e-mobility and in accounting for and reducing CO2."

This is the reason why DIHK-Bildungs-gGmbH is currently working together with subject experts to develop new national IHK certificate courses on these topics – specifically these are "Fachkraft für Wasserstoffanwendungen (IHK)" (Hydrogen applications technician), "Spezialist für Elektromobilität (IHK)" (E-mobility specialist) and "CO2-Specialist (IHK)".

The IHKs also already have an existing certificate offer available regionally with the IHK management training "Nachhaltig erfolgreich Führen" (Successful sustainable leadership) funded by Federal Ministry of Education and the IHK certificate course "CSR Manager (IHK)".

Source: dihk.de (website of the German Chambers Association), revised by iMOVE, November 2022