Understanding of apprenticeships in the national context

    Q1. Is there an official definition of 'apprenticeships' in your country?

    Apprenticeships are generally understood as vocational education and training at the level of upper secondary education taking place in companies and part-time vocational schools, i.e. training within the ‘dual system’. Learners (apprentices) have a training contract with their employer and receive training according to an occupational profile, which is defined by an official training curriculum for in-company training and complemented by a corresponding school syllabus for theoretical instruction. Apprenticeships last 2 to 3 ½ years. After passing the final examination, learners are awarded a recognised vocational qualification at the level of skilled workers.

    The term ‘apprenticeship’ (Lehre, Lehrlingsausbildung) is used only for programmes at upper secondary level. Tertiary IVET, i.e. the dual studies scheme mentioned in question 2, is not referred to as ‘apprenticeship’ even though it fulfils some of the characteristics from the Cedefop definition.

    Q2. Which apprenticeship schemes exist in your country?
    At upper secondary level: Dual VET (initial VET according to the Vocational Training Act)
    At post-secondary / higher level: Dual studies
    At sectoral level: None

    The apprenticeship scheme at the upper secondary level is officially referred to as ‘Berufsausbildung’ (see section 1, paragraph 3 of the Vocational Training Act[1]), which literally translates to ‘(initial) vocational education and training’. The term ‘dual VET’ (‘duale Berufsausbildung’) is not used in the law but appears frequently in the literature as well as policy documents such as the federal government’s annual report on vocational education and training. Alternatively the scheme is referred to as ‘Duales System’ (dual system), which is also a term used in policy documents but not in the law.

    The scheme at the level of tertiary education is termed ‘Duales Studium’ (‘dual studies’) but this is not considered "apprenticeship" in the country.


    [1] A list of sources is provided at the end of this document.

    Q5. How well-established are apprenticeships in your country?
    A long history
    A recent history (in 2000s)
    No history yet, they are still to be established as a pathway

    Please explain briefly your choice:

    The origins of the apprenticeship system date back to the training model of the medieval guilds, which remained the dominant regime of occupational socialisation from the 14th century to the beginning of the industrial revolution in the 19th century. The current ‘dual’ model of apprenticeship, i.e. the combination of training in the enterprise and theoretical instruction in part-time VET schools, evolved from the 1870s onwards when trade schools for apprentices and young factory workers were gradually established in order to make up for the disintegration of the feudal order and its training regime. While the mission of these schools was initially focusing on civic education, their curricula were increasingly adapted so as to include specific vocational contents. The model of systematic in-company training was extended from the craft trades and the commercial sector to the manufacturing industry after the establishment of the Weimar Republic, and at the same time the trade schools were upgraded to (compulsory) VET schools. Thus, the dual system in its ‘mature’ form has been in place since the 1920s; however the harmonisation of its legal foundations did not come into being until the 1969 enactment of the Vocational Training Act (Greinert, 2007).

    Q6. Additional information to understand the specificity of apprenticeships in the country

    No additional information at this stage.