Apprentices at risk of dropping out, apprentices with learning difficulties and/or socially disadvantaged apprentices under the age of 25.


Education level and sector

Upper secondary Vocational Education and Training (VET) (apprenticeship based)

Type of policy/initiative



Level of implementation / Scope

National (through regional providers) institutions/courses covered: all fields of dual system of vocational training[1]

[1] Interviews under the Cedefop study focused on the State of Hessen

Stage of implementation

abH is a mainstream national initiative, as part of the SGB III (Social Law). In its current form, it was introduced in 2012, but slightly different forms have existed since the 1970s[1].


Aims of policy/initiative

The overall aim is to help disadvantaged apprentices with their integration into the labour market and prevent them from dropping-out.

Specifically, it aims to:

  • support successful completion of the apprenticeship
  • reduce dissolution rates of the apprenticeship
  • support transition from a non-company-based training to a “normal” company-based training[1]
  • support transition from a dissolved apprenticeship contract into a new one
  • increase integration into the “regular labour market”

stabilise training relations


[1] The German dual system of education includes an apprenticeship in a company as well as attendance of a vocational school of the same professional field. Apprenticeships are done in companies active on the regular labour market. There are however also measures to help young learners who cannot find apprenticeships on the regular labour market, who are given the possibility to learn and train in a “safer”/simulated environment, not company-based.

Features and types of activities implemented

An initial meeting with a counsellor will assess the support measures suitable for the participant. Counselling, as well as teaching is scheduled to take place in parallel with regular apprenticeship and vocational school training.

The activities revolve around 3 general measures:

  • support lessons/additional vocational education
  • social and pedagogical counselling
  • individual support seminars

The approach is three-fold, in order to find the most suitable way to support at-risk apprentices. Activities include:

  • support lessons in profession-specific learning groups
  • additional German language lessons
  • intensive exam preparation classes
  • space for self-study
  • seminars on learning techniques (“learning to learn”)
  • seminars to strengthen key skills
  • IT training seminars
  • job application training and support
  • personal counselling and support by a social worker
  • group-based leisure activities

The extent of activities offered is subject to a strict set of rules defined by the Public Employment Service.


Funding is provided to abH providers by the Public Labour Market Service, based on the number of apprentices supported.The measure was evaluated externally in 1991[1]. It is presently evaluated internally by each abH provider but the results are not publicly available and thus there is no national evaluation of abH in its present form.

Evaluation of the measure

The measure was evaluated externally in 1991[1]. It is presently evaluated internally by each abH provider but the results are not publicly available and thus there is no national evaluation of abH in its present form.

Success factors

The following success factors are based on the testimonies of participants in the measure interviewed under Cedefop study:

  1. Motivated teachers: teacher motivation was named as a key success factor because learners turn to abH providers for additional help and need to stay motivated to return to lessons regularly on a voluntary basis. Interviewed learners also highlighted their teacher’s know-how and teaching method as the most important motivating factor for them to come and learn at abH providers.
  2. Flexibility: the programme can cater individually and very flexibly to the needs of learners. The training centres try to find the exact programme needed by learners, be it professional expertise in various fields or pedagogical/ psychological support.
  3. Learning environment: the setting with small groups (4-10 people), located in training centres which provide a good learning environment was also mentioned by learners as a motivation to come in for extra training sessions.
  4. Political will: the political will to fund a programme like abH is a crucial success factor. Germany has provided secure funding for the initiative by including it into the Social Law SBG III.
  5. Capable providers: qualified training providers are essential for the successful implementation of a programme such as abH.

Contact details for further information

Contact name
Frank Neises
Contact telephone
+49 228 107 1353
Contact email