In Germany, assisted VET (‘Carpo’) incorporates intensive individual social-pedagogical coaching and guidance, offered by certified social-pedagogues.
The target is generally young people who are able to take on an apprenticeship, but who have had difficulties in finding or keeping apprenticeship placements after finishing compulsory full-time school.
The initiative also targets companies, encouraging them to take on additional and “more difficult to handle” or “less stereotypical” apprentices (e.g. with a migration background or of an uncommon gender).
 Compulsory schooling in Germany is regulated on Länder level, thus each Land has different laws. “Full-time schooling” is usually compulsory for 9 or 10 years independent of the students’ age. In Baden-Württemberg compulsory full-time schooling includes elementary school and 5 years of lower secondary school. After “full-time” schooling most Länder also have “compulsory vocational schooling” for 3 years or until the age of 18, which, however, also applies to general upper secondary schools.
Education level and sector
Upper secondary Vocational Education and Training (VET)
Type of policy/initiative
Level of implementation / Scope
Regional (Land Baden-Württemberg)
Institutions/courses covered: all fields of dual system vocational training (apprenticeships)
 The German dual system vocational training is made up of two parts: an apprenticeship in a company and attendance of a vocational school for the specific professional area. Both usually last for 2 to 3 years, with vocational school exams at the end of each school term, and a final exam.
Stage of implementation
Ongoing since 2008, phased out in July 2015 and transformed into a mainstreamed initiative, albeit in an adapted format, in September 2015.
Aims of policy/initiative
The initiative aims at including apprentices who are facing various challenges to entering the regular labour market. By supporting both companies offering apprenticeships as well as individual apprentices themselves, the measure aims to enable learners who would otherwise not be able to follow an apprenticeship training in the labour market.
Features and types of activities implemented
The measure is made up of two separate parts:
- Preparation phase - 5 main areas of support:
- intensive individual social-pedagogical coaching and guidance, offered by certified social-pedagogues
- career-specific support
- internship arrangements
- social skills training
- general and specific know-how and skills
- Assistance phase - 3 main areas of support:
- further intensive individual social-pedagogical coaching and guidance
- cooperation with apprenticeship companies and vocational schools
- profession and subject-related support services, either in groups or individually
Up to the end of the regional project, Carpo guidance providers receive €348 per month per participant, of which €194 comes from ESF funds and €154 is co-financed by the public employment services and job centres.
Evaluation of the measure
Carpo was evaluated in 2012, however the results were not published. Much of the monitoring data is presented in different forms on the project’s website.
Carpo has been frequently evaluated internally.
Evidence of effectiveness of the measure
According to the data reported, 95% of Carpo apprentices pass their final vocational school and practical exams (obtaining a qualification). This result is confirmed by the interviewees. Interviewed learners state that they are sure they would not have made it this far in the apprenticeship without Carpo’s assistance.
According to the 2014 data presentation, 55% of Carpo apprentices were directly employed by their apprenticeship company, another 23% started working in a different company. 5% continued onto a different training and 2.5% went into further education.
According to the data presentation, 98% of companies as well as apprentices involved would recommend Carpo, and 57% of companies involved have decided to offer an additional apprenticeship, of which 70% named the assistance by Carpo as the main reason to offer an additional placement.
Apprenticeships assisted through Carpo were ended prematurely in only 10% of cases according to the 2012 evaluation report, and 23% according to 2014 data which, compared to the German average of 25%, is a good result.
The following success factors are based on the testimonies of participants in the measure interviewed for the Cedefop study:
- Individualised support: the measure focused on what the VET institutions could do to improve retention rather than the students’ shortcomings. The rationale being that committed teachers and managers play an important role in the retention of young people.
- Flexibility: Carpo is extremely flexible in terms of time, location and content. Regarding content, issues covered or supported by the counsellors are not limited to work or school-related problems, but also cover financial troubles, bureaucratic/legal issues, etc. Time-wise, no pressure is put on participants to show up at a given time or with any frequency, according to the learners’ needs. Location-wise, counsellors may meet participants in their offices, or do home-visits, according to learners’ needs.
- Intense preparation phase: the intense preparation phase which includes internships, which often lead to directly finding an apprenticeship placement, helps learners find a professional area of interest as well as enabling companies to try out working with a more “difficult” apprentice.
- Duration: there is no limit to the extent of support – if the participant decides to change VET tracks, the support continues until they have finished their vocational training and beyond, unless they do not need the support at a later stage.
- Cooperation arrangements with local support institutions: the youth organisations are very well linked to local businesses and other local support institutions such as debt counsellors, and are thus able to offer quick and low-threshold support to apprentices.
- Cooperation with local companies: links to businesses in the region aid the process of finding internship placements as well as apprenticeship placements for the learners, as direct contact and support may diminish fears and prejudices against certain apprentices.