Summary: State Report on Vocational Training

The report compares the vocational training systems in all 16 German federal states in terms of performance and equal opportunities. Its aim is to provide the respective state policy makers with relevant information to help improve regional vocational training systems.

Main Findings

The number of young people and employers who participate in dual vocational training has declined across the board. Since 2007 the number of applicants for a dual apprenticeship has decreased by 19 per cent from 756.000 to 613.00 in 2013. The number of apprenticeships offered by employers also went down, but to a lesser extent: 13 per cent from 2007. The ratio between supply and demand on the market for apprenticeships is therefore more favourable to applicants than it was a couple of years ago.

Disadvatages in VET for young people without German citizenship

Young people without German citizenship (non-Germans) generally have less access to vocational training than young Germans. Non-German applicants have the best access to vocational training in the state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. Eighty-nine per cent of non-German applicants there find a placement straight away. This is slightly higher number than the number of German applicants (84 %). In the city state of Bremen, non-German applicants have considerably less access to vocational training. Only 41 per cent manage to find a placement immediately compared to 71 per cent for German applicants.

The gap between Germans and non-Germans in terms of access to vocational training are more apparent the lower the attainment in general education is. Germans and non-Germans with a high-school diploma (Abitur) manage to find training placements in almost equal numbers, whereas 54 per cent of Germans with lower secondary education find training placements compared to only 37 per cent of non-Germans.

Even though the ratio between applicants and training placements is now more favourable than it was a few years ago, there have been no significant improvements for early school leavers or those with a degree from the lower secondary school (Hauptschule), the lowest level of the three-tier school system in Germany. In 2005, only 48 per cent of this group managed to find a training placement straight after leaving school. This number only slightly increased to 51 per cent in 2013. There are great differences between the states. Whereas in Bavaria, 71 per cent manage to find a placement immediately, only 37 per cent in Schleswig-Holstein do so. Young people who do not find a training placement straight away attend training courses in the transition system between school and vocational training. The courses in the transition system are designed to prepare those attending for vocational education. However, they do not result in a vocational qualification.

Unstable apprenticeship contracts

More and more apprenticeship contracts in Germany are terminated prematurely. In 2013 this was true for 25 per cent of all apprenticeship contracts compared to 21 per cent in 2008. In some states and areas of vocational training almost half of all apprenticeship contracts are terminated by either the company or the apprentice before the apprenticeship has come to a regular end. A terminated apprenticeship contract is not equivalent to a failed apprenticeship, since many apprentices continue at another company or in a different profession. Nonetheless, prematurely terminated contracts incur costs in terms of both time and resources for the companies and the individuals.