Regulation of Vocational Education and Training
A standardized and comprehensive system of education and vocational training is a major reason for Germany's economic strength. Young people and companies can expect that their efforts in the field of education are part of a system which ensures access, quality, mobility, and capacity for innovation. This system is governed by the amended Vocational Training Act (BBiG), which also establishes the basis for further training at a high quality and nationally consistent level. Standardized requirements and examination rules ensure both the high qualification of employees and the economic success of businesses.
Vocational education and training in Germany includes the entire qualification process from training preparation to classical vocational education to advanced training. Today people can no longer expect to do the same kind of work for their entire lives. Requirements in trained occupations change, and for many employees it will be necessary to change occupational fields at some point in their careers.
The system of vocational qualification must therefore be capable of meeting different challenges. Apprentices and companies both expect nationally standardized vocational training at the highest level. Those who have trained in an occupation want to get ahead in their field and to have advanced training opportunities. Those who change occupational fields want to have applicable qualifications accredited, rather than being forced to start from scratch in a related branch.
Thus the standardized regulation of vocational education and training is a crucial foundation for good occupational skills, for a mobile workforce, and for further professional development.
The Vocational Training Reform Act came into force on 1 April 2005. It has the objective of maintaining and improving training opportunities and ensuring that all young people receive high-quality vocational training - irrespective of their social or regional background.
All in all, there are about 350 state recognized training occupations. The period of training in these occupations is usually two or three years. About 60% of the young people take up dual vocational education and training which is concluded by a state examination.
The BMBF is funding intercompany training centres to help small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to provide training in a recognized training occupation. Solutions to training problems which cannot be solved by individual SMEs can, after all, be found at intercompany level. Furthermore, intercompany training centres can develop into competence centres.