The “Introductory training” scheme has been running in Germany since 2004. The scheme funds apprenticeship-like training with a view to helping young people find a regular apprenticeship opportunity.
- Training applicants registered with an employment agency or job centre who still have no training place after the nationwide subsequent placement campaigns
- Training place seekers who have not yet attained full apprenticeship entry maturity
- Training place seekers who have learning difficulties or are socially disadvantaged
Education level and sector
Upper secondary Vocational Education and Training (VET) (apprenticeship based)
Type of policy/initiative
Level of implementation / Scope
Stage of implementation
Mainstream, introduced in 2004
Aims of policy/initiative
The objective is to impart and reinforce basic employability skills for young people.
Features and types of activities implemented
Introductory training placements are ‘apprenticeship-internships’ that last for 6-12 months and are funded by employment agencies or jobcentres. The Federal Ministry for Labour and Social Affairs designed the measure in cooperation with key stakeholders of industry and trade. At the end of the placement, companies can decide whether to offer a regular apprenticeship.
In some regions, the EQ participants have a duty to attend vocational school training during their introductory training.
Recently, a more supportive scheme called “EQ plus” has been introduced, which combines EQ with other vocational or socio-pedagogical support measures such as ‘abH’ training related assistance or ‘VerA’ – prevention of dropout from training.
The measure is part of the Social Law in Germany and is implemented by public employment agencies and job centres.
The introductory training is currently funded with max. €231 per person per month, plus payments to social insurance, altogether amounting to €347 per participant per month.
Evaluation of the measure
An external evaluation was carried out by two research institutions (GIB and IAB) between 2010 and 2012. 3 interim reports were published followed by a combined version.
The analysis focused on companies offering EQ placements, chambers of industry and trade, public employment agencies and job centres, and participants of EQ.
Evidence of effectiveness of the measure
In the second (interim) evaluation report, 60% of companies stated their participants had successfully finished the EQ pre-training. According to the evaluation, almost 60% of companies have also taken on a successful participant as a regular apprentice upon completion of the EQ pre-training (50% according to the chambers).
According to the evaluation report, almost 70% of EQ participants were in a regular apprenticeship training 18 months and 30 months after their EQ period, respectively, and 12% had taken up regular employment.
In fact, 21% of those who ended their EQ contract early (total is at around 25% of all EQ apprentices) did so because they were already offered a regular apprenticeship before the end of their EQ contract.
The following success factors are based on the testimonies of participants in the measure interviewed under the Cedefop study:
- “Trial period” with low cost to employers: the fact that companies get the opportunity to try out working with “weaker” applicants at potentially no extra cost makes them more likely to offer regular apprenticeship placements to them afterwards, thus enabling learners who are at risk of dropping out to become fully integrated in the regular labour market.
- Collaboration with Chambers: the close cooperation with Germany’s biggest chambers of industry and trade ensures promotion among companies and a wide provision of EQ placements.
- Cooperation with other support programmes: the programme collaborates closely with other support programmes, such as AbH or VerA, for at-risk apprentices in order to get each EQ participant the support they need (EQ “plus”).
 Employers can pay more than 231 Euro to the intern, but a maximum of 231 Euro are reimbursed.