Many upper secondary school leavers find vocational training unappealing. Formats like Triale studies can help.
The Vocational training report of 2015 has shown that companies are finding it increasingly difficult to recruit suitable candidates: for the last training year, the number of traineeships left unfilled reached record levels while the number of applicants who did not find a place fell. To compete with the attraction of full-time study, companies offering traineeships and training schools have to meet the challenge of making training courses more appealing: modernising curricula and enriching content.
One promising approach is Triale studies, where young people with upper secondary school leaving certificates can obtain three qualifications. As well as the conventional initial training carried out for a bachelor degree (as in dual higher education), trainees also have the opportunity to take a master of trade qualification.
This concept has been around for five years and is offered in 19 different handcrafts trade such as electrical engineer, dental technical or hairdresser. Young people can also prepare for a career in management by following the Triale studies programme in trade management business administration offered at the privately run university of applied sciences for small and medium-sized enterprises in Cologne [http://www.triales-studium.de/informationen-fuer-schueler, in German only]. In the coming winter semester, studies will be also offered at the state Hochschule Niederrhein and university of applied sciences in Mönchengladbach; it is planned to offer this programme at additional locations in the future.
Students are expected to be in class every second week on Friday evenings and at the weekend, as well as listen to an online lecture once per week, for four and a half years. Alongside their studies, they generally work like any other member of staff at their companies; most of the students on the course in Cologne work full time.
Despite the high demands, all the students in Cologne saw their course out to the end. Triale students who have undergone this kind of training appear to be in high demand on the labour market; they take a far more practical approach than their peers from other courses.
Most of the first group of students were recruited from family companies which wanted to prepare their children to take over the family business. Success is obvious: since the Triale programme started in 2010, around 100 participants have enrolled.