ZDH entrepreneur forum: Economic momentum is a challenge for vocational education and training

The economy is constantly changing, particularly when it comes to digitalisation. More money should therefore be available for vocational education and training.

"In view of an ever more dynamic economic environment and increasingly tough competition for skilled workers, the skilled trades and policy makers must further strengthen vocational education and training. Today is about the significance which vocational education and training will have for job markets of the future and for Germany as a location for business," explained Hans Peter Wollseifer at the German Central Association of Skilled Trades (ZDH) entrepreneur forum "Skilled workers for the skilled trades". He commented that key structural decisions had certainly been made with the amendment to the German Vocational Training Act. He added however that he saw a need for appropriate recognition of training provided by the skilled trades and for relevant relief, for example in terms of social insurance contributions.

The Ministry of Education also supports companies via the Jobstarter programme

Thomas Rachel (CDU), Parliamentary Secretary of State in the Federal Ministry, was sympathetic to the demands. Matters relating to relief, he explained, were ultimately a matter for the Federal Ministry of Social Affairs and the Federal Ministry of Finance. He added that, overall in continuing education and training, not only was there a wide range of challenges, but also a broad selection of activities which were being used to strengthen vocational education and training. Besides the amendment to the Vocational Training Act with the minimum training allowance, and the new additional designations of occupation, there was also support for smaller companies in their training delivery from the Jobstarter programme as well as measures for improving the links between training and digitalisation.

More money for digitalisation in inter-company vocational training centres

He explained that the Federal Ministry of Education is, for example, supporting inter-company vocational training centres (ICVTCs) via the ICVTC digitalisation programme for a further four years with a total of €120 million. The purpose of this was to further update training courses in the ICVTCs and to further improve their capacity for innovation. He also explained that the aim of the qualification initiative Digital Change "4.0" was to prepare staff working in vocational education and training to be ready to face the changes.

Major challenge for the skilled trades: the platform economy

In the view of Hans-Peter Klös, a member of the management board at the German Economic Institute, Germany is far too slow when it comes to digitalisation. Germany may well be excellent when it comes to mastering industrial complexity and complexity in the skilled trades, however the platform economy was, he warned, not a specialism of the German business model. However, he added, it is this in particular which will challenge the German economy - including the skilled trades. ZDH General Secretary Holger Schwannecke also regards the "incredible dynamism in digitalisation" as a challenge for vocational education and training. He explained that training and examination regulations often lag far behind. He claimed that all those concerned would have to speed up considerably.

Source: deutsche-handwerks-zeitung.de (online platform of the newspaper for the German crafts sector), revised by iMOVE, October 2019