The Austrian master craftsperson qualification is an important higher VET qualification, with objectives of specialist competence, company management and apprenticeship training. A survey of graduates shows that these objectives are indeed achieved in business.

The survey among graduates of the master craftsperson examination, commissioned by the Austrian Federal Economic Chamber, was conducted by Institute for Research on Qualifications and Training of the Austrian Economy (ibw) in the autumn of 2015. It aimed to discover whether the objectives of this qualification are fulfilled: having comprehensive specialist competences, enabling holders to work in an executive position carrying out complex tasks, or being able to manage a company and train apprentices.

The facts and figures from this empirical ‘reality check’ show that the master craftsperson qualification fulfils these objectives. After passing the exam, 75% of graduates advance to higher-level positions with more managerial and decision-making powers, holding executive positions in middle and, especially, higher management. Around a third become self-employed – setting up their own company or taking over a business – and so are responsible for managing an entire company.

Most of those surveyed completed a subject-specific apprenticeship and several years of company-based practice before graduating. Although, according to law, the only prerequisite for taking the exam is full legal age, most respondents considered apprenticeship combined with a few years of practice as a suitable basis for acquiring the qualification. This makes apprenticeship a major springboard for tertiary VET qualifications.

The survey data show that master craftspeople are employed in line with their qualification. It also confirms the demand from qualification providers that, according to its learning outcomes, this qualification should be allocated at level 6 of the national qualifications framework.

More information:

Information about the structure of the master craftsperson examination (in German)

Gruber, B.; Nowak, S.; Petanovitsch, A. Tritscher-Archan, S.; (2016): Meisterprüfung in Österreich. Absolvent/innenbefragung  (in German)

ibw-research brief Nr. 94: DE || EN