In 2020 the Federal Institute for Vocational Education and Training (BIBB) celebrates its 50th anniversary. The institute stands for the partnership in vocational education and training (VET) between the state and the business community that shapes the system in Germany.

In 1969 the Vocational Training Act (BBiG) was passed. An essential component of the BBiG was the establishment of a research institution for vocational training. The Federal Institute for Vocational Education and Training (BIBB) was established as a federal institution in 1970.

Two aspects are worthy of note:

  1. the institutional anchoring in the Vocational Training Act underlines the importance of research into VET in Germany;
  2. the establishment of the Main Board reflects the joint responsibility for the dual training system of the social partners and the state.

The vital importance of research for VET

VET has a long tradition in Germany, in particular the dual training system with its learning in both school and company. But the system has to adapt to changes and the establishment of BIBB was a response to this challenge. The BIBB continuously monitors the VET system and the changing framework conditions, such as social and technological changes, through research. To support this, a network of approximately 30 partner organisations has been developed around the world.

Based on this research expertise, the BIBB develops and updates initial and advanced education and training regulations for recognised vocational qualifications together with experts from vocational practice.

Unique construction of a public private partnership

The combination of state and private sector players in BIBB can be described as unique in the national and international contexts. The so-called Parliament of Vocational Education and Training, the Main Board, is composed equally of employers' associations, trade unions, representatives of the Länder governments and the Federal Government. Its core task is to advice the Federal Government on all fundamental VET issues.

It also decides on the annual research programme. In order to safeguard scientific standards, a scientific advisory board was set up in 2005. This consists of national and international experts in VET research and four representatives of the Main Board, again composed of one representative each from employers, employees, the States and the Federal Government.

Read more

Blankertz, H.; Claessens, D.; Edding, F. (1999). Ein zentrales Forschungsinstitut für Berufsbildung? Gutachten im Auftrag des Senators für Arbeit und soziale Angelegenheiten des Landes Berlin. Berlin 1966. [Expert opinion on the establishment of a research institute for vocational training]

Bundesinstitut für Berufsbildung (2010). 40 Jahre BIBB – 40 Jahre forschen – Beraten – Zukunft gestalten. [40 years of BIBB - 40 years of research - consulting - shaping the future]