1Target group

Q7. What is the target group of this scheme?
Young people in initial vocational education and training (15-16 year-olds)
Young adults in education and training (above 16 year-olds)
Unemployed
Other (please specify in the description)

The dual system is open to anyone who has completed compulsory schooling. No specific target group is defined by the law, and there is no statutory age limit (see also question 8).

Q8. What is the age of learners?
Between 15 and 18
Between 18 and 24
Above 24

Learners between 15 and 18 (2014): 421,664 out of 1,409,438 – 29.9%.

Learners between 19 and 24 (2014): 852,918 out of 1,409,438 – 60.5 %.

Learners above 24 (2014): 134,856 out of 1,409,438 – 9.6%.

Source: Statistisches Bundesamt 2015, p. 55

Link: https://www.destatis.de/DE/Publikationen/Thematisch/BildungForschungKultur/Schulen/IntegrierteAusbildungsberichterstattung5211201147004.pdf?__blob=publicationFile

2Overview of the scheme

Q9. Is the scheme included in the ISCED 2011 mapping?
Yes
No

Programme code: 03.05, ISCED 2011 level: 354 

Q10 - Is the scheme part of the VET system?
Yes, it is the main route in the VET system
Yes, but it is considered a second-chance route
No, it is an alternative pathway outside of formal VET

The dual system accounts for about 70% of the learners in the VET system (see question 17).

Q11 - When was the scheme introduced?
Long history (before 2000)
Recently introduced (between 2000-2012)
New pathway (after 2012)

For the origins of the dual system see question 5. The last significant amendments of the system were the introduction of holistic ‘learning areas’ in the VET schools in the 1990s and the establishment of two-year training programmes from the early 2000s on. 

Q12 - How did the apprenticeship scheme originate?
traditional craftsmanship (master-apprentice relation) to prepare apprentices for the occupation
school-based VET track by including more work-based learning to supply skilled workforce to match labour market needs
programmes for the unemployed (active labour market measures) to facilitate integration on the labour market
Other
Q13 - What are the major sources of financing of the in-company training part of the apprenticeship scheme?
By companies hosting apprentices
By employers through sectoral funds
By the state from the education budget
By the state from the labour / social security budget
By EU funding
Other

Employers cover the apprentices’ remuneration, the operational costs for in-company training and the fees for the chambers. The costs for VET schools are covered by the Länder governments from their education budgets.

Q14 - Are there any financial incentives for companies that offer apprenticeship places?
Yes, subsidies
Yes, tax deductions
Yes, other incentives
No financial incentives

There are no financial incentives in general, however apprenticeship places may be subsidised by the federal government or the Länder governments under the provisions of the Social Security Code (Statistisches Bundesamt, 2013, p. 20). The practical relevance of such publicly funded training places is low as evidenced by the fact that the share of these places in relation to all newly concluded apprenticeship contracts has dropped from 8.1% in 2009 to 3.6% in 2015 (BMBF 2016, p. 28).

Q15 - Is the scheme temporary, meaning that it is financed for a limited period of time?
Yes
No
Q16. How many learners are enrolled in this scheme?
Q17 - How many learners are enrolled in this scheme in relation to all VET students?
the main VET track (majority of VET learners - more than 60% of VET learners)
strong VET track (important share of VET learners - between 30%-60%)
minor track (small share of learners - between 10% and 30%)
very small track (less than 10%)
Apprentices are not considered as learners (they are employees)

Ratio of learners enrolled in the dual system and VET learners in total (2014): 1.409 million out of 1.896 million – 74.3%.

Ratio of new entries into the dual system and new entries into VET in total (2014): 481,136 out of 700,516 – 68.7%.

Source: Statistisches Bundesamt 2015, pp. 7 and 11

Link: https://www.destatis.de/DE/Publikationen/Thematisch/BildungForschungKultur/Schulen/IntegrierteAusbildungsberichterstattung5211201147004.pdf?__blob=publicationFile

Q18 - How many learners are enrolled in the scheme in relation to all programmes for learners of the same age group?
the main track (majority of learners - more than 60% of all learners)
strong track (important share of all learners - between 30%-60%)
minor track (small share of learners - between 10% and 30%)
very small track (less than 10%)

Ratio of learners enrolled in the dual system and those in all programmes for the same age group (2014): 1,409,438 out of 3,554,524 – 39.7%.

Ratio of new entries into the dual system and new entries into all programmes for the same age group (2014): 481,136 out of 1,473,480 – 32.7%.

Source: Statistisches Bundesamt 2015, pp. 7 and 11

Link: https://www.destatis.de/DE/Publikationen/Thematisch/BildungForschungKultur/Schulen/IntegrierteAusbildungsberichterstattung5211201147004.pdf?__blob=publicationFile

 

NB: The figures above refer to programmes directly accessible after lower secondary education (i.e. VET, general upper secondary education and the ‘transitional system’) and do not include higher education.

Q19 - Does the apprenticeship scheme result in a qualification?
Yes
No
Q20 - Which is the type of qualification obtained through the apprenticeship scheme?
Educational qualification
Occupational / sectoral qualification

The names of the qualifications obtained through apprenticeship in the dual system vary between occupational sectors, however the qualifications are fully equivalent in the sense that they all require the same type of training and give evidence of the same level of professional competence. Hence the qualifications specified below can be regarded as one single type of qualification, which is why they are frequently grouped together under the generic term ‘Lehrabschluss’ (completed vocational training), which is also used in the ISCED 2011 mapping.

The qualification awarded in the sector of skilled crafts is termed ‘Gesellenbrief’ (‘journeyman’s certificate’).

The qualification awarded in the sector of engineering and industrial occupations is termed ‘Facharbeiterbrief’ (‘skilled worker’s certificate’).

The qualification awarded in business and commercial occupations is known by the neutral term ‘IHK-Prüfungszeugnis’ (certificate of final examination at the chamber of industry and commerce), which has been replacing the traditional title of ‘Kaufmannsgehilfenbrief’ (‘business clerk’s certificate’) since 2000.

All of the above-mentioned qualifications are awarded by the competent bodies according to the Vocational Training Act, i.e. the chambers of commerce, chambers of craft trades and the sectoral chambers for some business sectors (see section 71 of the Vocational Training Act). The qualifications are based on occupational profiles defined in the training ordinances for each occupation, but they also have the status of diplomas or certificates that are recognised within the education system. Accordingly, the qualifications of the dual system may count not only as occupational but also as educational qualifications.

3Qualifications

Q21 - Is the qualification included in the National Qualification Framework (NQF)
Yes
No
There is no NQF

The level within the German Qualifications Framework (DQR) depends on the duration of the programme. Qualifications awarded after 3 or 3 ½ years, which is the duration of the vast majority of apprenticeship programmes, belong to level 4. Qualifications related to 2-year apprenticeships belong to level 3 (see also question 24).

Q23 - Does the scheme provide direct access to higher education?
Yes
No

Unlike learners with a CVET qualification (e.g. master craftsperson), graduates of IVET programmes in the dual system do not have direct access to higher education. However, according to the resolution of the Standing Conference of the Ministers of Education and Cultural Affairs (KMK) of 6 March 2009 on the access of vocationally qualified learners to higher education, learners who give evidence of a completed apprenticeship (or equivalent VET programme outside the dual system) of at least two years plus three years of relevant work experience can have access to cognate higher education programmes if they pass a specific admission test. Alternatively, they may be admitted on probation for a period of one year. The Länder have amended their higher education acts accordingly.

4Duration

Q24. What is the duration of the VET pathway? (please refer to the typical duration)
3 or 3 ½ years

The training period in most occupations is 3 or 3 ½ years (36 or 42 months) depending on the occupation. The duration is specified for each occupation in the respective training ordinance (‘Ausbildungsverordnung’). Apprentices with an advanced school-leaving certificate such as the ‘Abitur’ (university entrance qualification) have the opportunity to reduce the training period by one year.

In addition to these ‘standard’ apprenticeship programmes, apprenticeships with a duration of 2 years were introduced as a stepping stone for learners who might find a full-fledged training programme too challenging. These programmes account for about 8% of all learners enrolled in the dual system (see BMBF 2016, p. 36).

Q25 - How is the length of stay in apprenticeships defined in the regulation?
Is defined as minimum and maximum
Is defined as minimum
Is defined as maximum
Is not defined by regulation

As explained above, each training ordinance specifies the regular duration of the programme in question (24, 36 or 42 months). However, the chambers may grant permission to conclude an apprenticeship contract that foresees a longer or shorter length of stay (section 8 of the Vocational Training Act). The above-mentioned reduction of the training period by one year for holders of the ‘Abitur’ or equivalent is an example. In addition, the apprenticeship may be extended for a maximum of one year to enable the learner to re-take the final examination (section 21, paragraph 3 of the Vocational Training Act).

Q26 - Is there a distinction between the training and working period for the time spent at workplace, as per regulation?
Yes, the legal framework makes this distinction
No, the legal framework makes no distinction

5Alternation of work-based (in-company) training and school-based training

Q27 - Is in-company training a compulsory part of the scheme, as per regulation?
Yes
No

According to section 2, paragraph 1 of the Vocational Training Act, vocational education and training takes place:

1. in enterprises and similar organisations;

2. in VET schools; and

3. in other institutions such as inter-company training centres.

Cooperation between the above-mentioned learning venues is mandatory (section 2, paragraph 2 of the Vocational Training Act).

Q29 - What is the form of alternation of training between workplace (company) and school / training centre?
Every week includes both venues
One or more weeks (less than 1 month) spent at VET school followed by one or more weeks at workplace
One or more months (less than 1 year) spent at VET school followed by one or more months at workplace
A longer period (1-2 years) spent at VET school followed by a longer period spent training at workplace
Various - depends on VET school / training centre
Other
Not specified

According to the KMK agreement on VET schools (KMK resolution of 12 March 2015), schooling within the dual system is organised as part-time instruction, which may take place every week or in ‘blocks’ of one or more weeks followed by one or more weeks at the workplace. The schedule for the lessons is drawn up by the Länder authorities, taking into consideration the regional and local needs (point 3.2 of the agreement on VET schools). The minimum amount of schooling is 12 hours per week, 8 of which must be allocated to the vocational discipline while the remainder consists of general subjects. The details are specified in the curriculum documents for the different training programmes (points 4.1 and 4.2 of the agreement on VET schools).

Source: KMK 2015a (http://www.kmk.org/fileadmin/Dateien/veroeffentlichungen_beschluesse/2015/2015_03_12-RV-Berufsschule.pdf)

6Formal relationship with the employer

Q30 - Is any contractual arrangement between the learner, company and/or education and training provider, required as per regulation?
Yes
No

Any employer who hires a person for the purpose of training is obliged to conclude an apprenticeship contract with that person (section 10, paragraph 1 of the Vocational Training Act). The contract, which must be in writing, must specify the occupation in which the learner is to be trained and draw up a training schedule. Moreover, it must include provisions on the training period, working and training hours, training measures outside the company (if any), salary and paid leave (section 11, paragraph 1 of the Vocational Training Act).

Q31 - Which parties enter a contractual relationship?
Learner and employer
Learner, employer and the education and training institution
Education and training institution and the employer (not the learner)
Other
No contract is required

The apprenticeship contract is concluded between the employer (training enterprise) and the learner (see also question 30).

Q32 - What is the nature of the contract?
Apprenticeships are a specific contract covered by the Labour Code
Apprenticeships are a form of employment contract
Formal agreement, not covered by the Labour Code

According to the Vocational Training Act, apprenticeship contracts are a special type of contract to which the provisions of the Labour Code apply ‘unless specified otherwise’ (see section 10, paragraph 2 of the Vocational Training Act).

Q33 - Where is the contract registered?
At the education and training institution
At the employment office
At the chambers
At the Ministry of education
Other

Each competent body (i.e. chamber) is required by the law to operate a register of apprenticeship contracts for its district. The information entered in the register includes the personal data of the apprentice, the name and contact details of the employer, the occupation in which the apprentice is to be trained, and the period for which the contract is concluded (section 34 of the Vocational Training Act).

Q34 - What is the status of the learner?
Apprentice is a specific status
Student
Employee
Other

As explained above (question 32), the contract between learner and employer is governed by the labour legislation unless specified otherwise in the Vocational Training Act, which means that in principle the learner has the status of an employee. However, the Vocational Training Act assigns some specific rights and duties to the apprentices. Apprentices have the duty to develop their professional competence and to contribute to the successful completion of the training programme, in particular by performing training tasks as instructed and attending training measures they are assigned to (section 13 of the Vocational Training Act). Apprentices are entitled to paid leave in order to attend their classes at the VET school as well as external courses, if applicable (sections 15 and 18 of the Vocational Training Act).

7Remuneration

Q35 - Do apprentices receive a salary, allowance or compensation?
Yes, all apprentices receive a salary (taxable income)
Yes, all apprentices receive an allowance (not a form of taxable income)
Apprentices receive a reimbursement of expenses
Compensation is possible but not required
No form of compensation is foreseen by law

The salary or remuneration (‘Vergütung’ according to the wording of the Vocational Training Act) is determined by collective agreements and depends on the occupational sector. Employers who are not a member of any of the employer associations so that the collective agreements are not binding for them may still choose to pay the amounts fixed therein on a voluntary basis, but they are also free to pay a salary which is up to 20% lower. The average remuneration of apprentices in West Germany ranges from € 494 per month for hairdressers to over € 1,050 for several occupations in engineering, technology and construction. In East Germany the average salaries are lower, ranging from € 269 for hairdressers to approximately € 1,000 for the above-mentioned technology-related occupations.

Source: BIBB 2016 (https://www.bibb.de/dokumente/pdf/a21_dav_Gesamtuebersicht_Ausbildungsverguetungen_2015.pdf)

 
The salary is provided for the whole duration of the training. According to section 18 of the Vocational Training Act, apprentices are entitled to the salary also during the periods in the vocational school as well as during their preparation for the final examination.
Q36 - Who pays the salary / allowance of the apprentice?
Employers
State
Other
Q37 - Is the company hosting apprentices required to provide training at the workplace?
Yes, obligation to provide training at the workplace is required in the contract
Yes, it is required by law
Yes, required by other regulations
No, not required formally

The employer is required to take care that the apprentice is equipped with the professional competence they need to complete the training programme successfully. To this end, the employer must see to it that the training is carried out according to a proper schedule and organised in such a way that the learning objectives can be attained within the agreed training period (section 14, paragraph 1, point 1 of the Vocational Training Act).

8Responsibility of employers

Q38 - What are the requirements on training companies, as per regulation?
Have to provide a mentor / tutor / trainer
Have to provide learning environment
Have to ensure learning support
Have to develop a training plan
Other

The employer must either be personally fit and technically competent to train on his/her own, or designate a qualified trainer to do so (section 14, paragraph 1, point 2 in association with section 28, paragraphs 1 and 2 of the Vocational Training Act).

Training companies must be suitable for implementing a training programme at their own premises but may delegate specific training activities to other companies or training centres if some part of an occupational profile is not covered by their own business operations (section 27 of the Vocational Training Act). They also have to provide the means that are necessary for the apprentices to pursue their training, especially tools and working materials (section 14, paragraph 1, point 3 of the Vocational Training Act).

Q39 - Are there any sanctions on companies that do not provide training to apprentices at the workplace?
Yes
No

There is no sanction that explicitly relates to training at the workplace. However, companies that do not comply with the general requirements mentioned above may be prohibited from hiring and training apprentices (section 33 of the Vocational Training Act). 

Q40 - What is the role of chambers, employers' and employees' representatives (social partners), sectoral councils (if existent), in apprenticeships, as per regulation?
Roles in designing qualifications/ curricula
Roles in final assessment of apprentices
Roles in quality assurance of work-based VET
Responsible for the regulation of the contract
Other
No role

The chambers are ‘competent bodies’ for the supervision of apprenticeships (section 71 of the Vocational Training Act). They are responsible for the registration of apprenticeship contracts (section 34), the monitoring of employers’ compliance with the requirements on training companies (section 32), the organisation of final assessments (section 39) and the provision of advice and support for training companies (section 76).

Employers’ and employees’ representatives participate in the supervision of VET at the local level and in the design of curricula at the national level. They are represented in the boards of examiners at the chambers (section 40) and the VET advisory boards at the chambers (section 77). At the national level, employer associations and trade unions are represented in the governing board of the Federal Institute for Vocational Education and Training (section 92, paragraph 3 of the Vocational Training Act).

According to the memorandum of understanding between the federal and Länder governments on the development of VET curricula, the employer associations and trade unions at the national level have to be consulted when a curriculum is newly developed or amended (KMK 2011, pp. 6-8).