[Translate to English:] Drei Personen in einer Arbeitsgruppe vor einem Laptop in einer Bibliothek.
Arne Weychardt

Develop competences: Obtain vocational degrees step-by-step via partial qualifications

Partial qualifications allow adults to obtain vocational degrees, step-by-step, as appropriate for their personal circumstances. In cooperation with science, practice, politics and the economy, we are identifying success factors and developing recommendations for how a comprehensive, connective program for modular qualification might be designed.

Competences still missing in order to be awarded a vocational degree can be acquired, step-by-step, via partial qualifications in a modular late-starter qualification system. Existing initiatives, for instance, from the Chambers of Industry and Commerce, employers and local providers show how the modular qualification can be organized. They also demonstrate that this form of qualification works. 

There are many different partial qualification initiatives in Germany. However, most of the approaches only apply to a few professions and are not available everywhere in Germany. In addition, the modules for partial qualification in the various approaches cannot be connected to each other. Before modular late-starter qualification can be scaled, critical success factors from existing approaches to late-starter qualification have to be identified. Based on these, recommendations can be derived that demonstrate how the completion rates and the reach of the approaches can be optimized using common standards.

Project activities

The Cologne education model demonstrates how successful modular qualification can be. It was developed in 2014 by the Kommunales Bündnis für Arbeit (Municipal Jobs Alliance) based on a user-based concept and subsequently put into practice. To date (as of February 2017), 625 participants have been supported and financed by the Cologne Job Center. Now, the offer is part of standard funding. In cooperation with the Cologne Job Center and the City of Cologne, the foundation is performing an evaluation of the Cologne education model. The objective is to identify success factors and develop recommendations with an eye on reach and completion rates that demonstrate how a comprehensive and connective offer for modular qualification can be designed.

Based on this and already existing studies of partial qualification approaches, issues that are central for effectively designing partial qualifications will be discussed in a series of topic-based workshops with stakeholders from the late-starter qualification segment, e.g.: 

  • What partial qualification models exist in Germany?
  •  What are the success factors of successful late-starter qualification?
  • ·How can these factors be recorded via sophisticated monitoring?
  • What do sensible financing models for partial qualification approaches look like?
  • What forms of accompanying guidance are needed?
  • Which method of embedding the qualification process in companies is promising?

Then, in cooperation with the labor administration, chambers, social partners and educational institutions, partial qualifications should be developed for selected professions based on the identified success factors. The Career via Competences project shows, based on examples from several professions, how a comprehensive, connective offer for modular qualification that successfully guides people to professional qualifications can be concretely designed.

With studies on public financing of continuing education, the project demonstrates that public funding approaches are required to reduce the continuing education disadvantage people without professional qualifications face. The Deutsche Weiterbildungsatlas (German Continuing Education Atlas) published biannually in 2015 and 2016 makes the socially and regionally unequal participation rates and regionally unequal distribution of continuing education offers transparent.