Education and science are global drivers of innovation, economic growth and prosperity. Vocational training is increasingly becoming another such driver. The BMBF (Federal Ministry of Education and Research, Germany) cooperates with strategically important countries on vocational training and supports German providers of initial and continuing vocational training in developing the rapidly growing international education market.

According to information from the European Commission, approximately a quarter of 14 to 25 year-olds in Europe are unemployed. High youth unemployment in Spain and other countries in southern Europe contrasts with a shortage of skilled workers in Germany. At the same time, German companies located in Spain are seeking skilled staff trained in accordance with German vocational training standards. Germany and Spain now plan to open a new chapter in initial and continuing vocational training to add to their strong cooperation in education, science and research. Stakeholders in German industry and the vocational training sector met at a German-Spanish conference on training in Stuttgart on 12 July 2012 to discuss possibilities of practice-based training in Spain. It is intended that German-Spanish vocational training cooperation projects should have a sustainable effect in Spain against a background of shortage of trainees and skilled staff due to demographic factors. As many young people as possible are to be given prospects for employment. For example, measures will be taken to consider the possible contribution of German companies working in Spain. Cooperation between German companies and the German Chamber of Commerce Abroad in Madrid means there are already elements of a dual training system in Spain today. The framework conditions for mobility are also to be improved in the interests of both sides. The EURES database, which places people in employment abroad, will be extended to include training vacancies. Past experience of migration shows that skilled workers often return to their home countries after several years of working abroad. Qualifications gained abroad provide them with good professional opportunities.

Representatives of the German Federal Government and governments of China, India, Russia and Turkey discuss current developments in vocational training in high-level bilateral working groups chaired by the BMBF. Germany provides its partner countries with possible solutions based on its world famous dual initial and continuing vocational training. In addition, the BMBF maintains an education policy dialogue with many other countries. On vocational training exports, the BMBF supports internationalisation of German initial and continuing vocational training service providers. The aim is to develop innovative export channels for basic qualifications up to further training of skilled staff and test them in practice. Under the motto ‘Training – Made in Germany’ the BMBF initiative iMove (international marketing of vocational education) promotes German initial and continuing vocational training. German education service providers are supported in establishing international cooperation and business relations by means of training sessions, delegation visits and market studies. In the long term, Germany wants to become the export champion of education services.

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