There are some 340 different occupations requiring vocational education and training (VET), but boys still preferably want to be automotive mechatronics engineers and girls retail saleswomen.

As announced by the German Federal Statistical Office, the top five most common occupations requiring VET in Germany continue to remain stable: for eight years, retail salespersons, sales assistants, mechatronics engineers, office administrators and industrial business management assistants form the unchanged top bracket with more than 20 % of all apprenticeship contracts being entered into in these occupations.

An important reason behind this phenomenon is supply of apprenticeship placements. The greatest demand for apprentices continues to be generated by retailers, workshops in the trades, hairdressing salons, offices, medical practices and hospitals.

Moreover, the fact that generations of pupils keep on choosing the same occupations is due to a pronounced need for security. Young people often feel most comfortable in an occupation they are familiar with, for instance, because a parent or other relative is employed in that occupation.

Yet given a large spectrum of more than 340 occupations requiring vocational education and training, young people need to demonstrate more courage and commitment. In addition, more niche occupations need to be presented in occupational information activities, be it at school, employment agencies or apprenticeship placement platforms.

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ReferNet Germany