This article is part of a series developed by Cedefop community of apprenticeship experts. It was drafted by Kurt Schmid, Community expert for Austria, and revised by Cedefop staff.
In Austria, greening has emerged as a megatrend with implications related to technological change, climate change and sustainability, as well as potential for transformation, economic opportunities and job opportunities. Growing general social awareness was combined with expectations for the emergence of new business fields and economic opportunities. The general political and economic recognition of the growing importance of greening triggered further developments, including concerning apprenticeships.
Adaptation of apprenticeships in relation to the green transition takes place both transversally and in selected programmes.
Horizontally, elements related to sustainability are introduced in all apprenticeship programmes at national level.
At the same time, new specialised training modules are introduced in specific apprenticeship programmes, which have more explicit links – and therefore content – to the green transition (e.g. electrical engineering, installations and building technology, sun protection technology).
The enrichment of apprenticeship programmes with sustainability elements refers both to the curriculum of VET schools (school-based part of the overall training), and the training regulations that steer the in-company training component.
Both approaches (transversal and specialised) take place in the context of the regular update/modernisation of apprenticeship programmes.
These regular procedures for programme update include the involvement of social partners, sector representatives and external research experts. Any dual VET stakeholder can take the initiative of updating or establishing a new apprenticeship profession/programme. This usually comes from the employer side, i.e. the Chamber of Commerce, but it can also be Chamber of Labour, a trade union or the ministry responsible for dual VET. Social partners coordinate and forward their proposal to the ministry responsible for dual VET. The ministry usually commissions the ibw Austria – Research & Development in VET (or another external research institute) to develop, together with experts in the professional field, an occupational profile as well as regulations for in-company training (training regulations) and the final exam. The Federal Advisory Board on Apprenticeships discusses the draft documents and issues an opinion/statement to the ministry responsible for the workplace component of dual VET (currently named Federal Ministry of Labour and Economy, after the merge of the previous Ministry of Economics and Digitalisation with the Ministry of Labour). Then, the Ministry of Education develops the curriculum for the part-time VET school component (framework curriculum). Chambers of Commerce and Labour or other ministries and stakeholders concerned might provide feedback on the draft training regulations (workplace) and the school curriculum within a certain time limit. The Federal Advisory Board on Apprenticeships evaluates these comments, revises the drafts if needed, and forwards them to the two ministries above, so they can proceed with the ordinances required.