In Austria, young adults finding it hard to obtain an apprenticeship are assisted by a nationwide program called “Supra-Company Training”. The measure provides apprenticeship training to help young people enter the labour market.
Young adults who upon completion of compulsory school cannot find an apprenticeship. The target group focuses on disadvantaged groups, learners with learning difficulties, 'older' teenagers (older than the typical young adult when starting an apprenticeship at the age of 14 or 15) and early school leavers.
Education level and sector
Upper secondary Vocational Education and Training (VET)
Type of policy/initiative
Level of implementation / Scope
Stage of implementation
National implementation, started in 1997 in Vienna
Aims of policy/initiative
The measure aims to provide apprenticeship training (either for a few months or the entire training period of usually 3 years) to young adults who cannot find a training company, and thus help them enter the labour market.
Supra-company training includes three different models with different objectives:
- ÜBA1 which aims to provide the entire apprenticeship training at a supra-company-based training place.
- ÜBA 2 which aims to provide parts of the apprenticeship training at a supra-company training provider (mostly one year).
- Extended training or partial qualifications: this third form is provided by most providers. It aims to provide a partial qualification for apprentices who are not able to participate in regular apprenticeship training because of a lack of required skills and competences. It targets, among others, learners with learning disabilities.
Features and types of activities implemented
The measure originated at regional level and is now implemented at national level under the leadership of the Public Employment Service (PES). It provides a coaching and orientation element at the beginning of the training which itself is divided into 3 distinct models:
- Training for the duration of the whole apprenticeship with a view to transferring the apprentice to a regular company upon completion of the apprenticeship training.
- Partial training (1 year) with a view to transferring the apprentice to a regular apprenticeship.
- Partial qualification for those unable to participate in regular apprenticeships.
Apprentices in all models receive an allowance during their training.
The supra-company training is governed by public funding. About 75% of funding is provided by the PES, and 25% by the regional government. The funding situation is generally considered sufficient.
Evaluation of the measure
The measure was evaluated nationwide most recently in 2010, 2011 and 2013 upon commission from public authorities (BMASK, PES and the Chamber of Labour and regional governments).
Evidence of effectiveness of the measure
Data from 2011 indicates that 23% of participants on average drop out of the measure within one year; 36% finish the measure within one year due to a transfer to another measure or a regular apprenticeship placement, and 41% are still participating in the measure after one year.
38% of participants consider their situation as better than before, and another 38% as much better than before.
Overall, the measure increases participation in education and training within the target group. It can decrease the number of unemployed young individuals and reduces labour market inequalities for disadvantaged groups.
The following success factors are based on the testimonies of participants in the measure interviewed under the Cedefop study:
- Regional implementation and steering and broad stakeholder involvement: the implementation of the measure is coordinated at regional level. Advisory groups include all relevant stakeholders (Chamber of Commerce, Federation of Austrian Industry, Chamber of Labour and Labour Union) which provide their input taking into account regional contexts, and ensure high political commitment. Moreover, regional coordination offices, which are implemented in some regions, facilitate the communication and exchange between the various relevant stakeholders and support transferability.
- Additional support measures: additional support measures are provided on an individual basis to all supra-company training providers. Social pedagogues, social workers and psychologists work together in multi-professional teams. They also work closely with other providers of support measures, such as youth coaches.
In addition, support teachers for people with learning difficulties are provided at the training facility. They work with apprentices in a one-to-one setting to prepare for tests or tackle individual issues (e.g. German as a foreign language).
- Cooperation between multi-disciplinary staff members: the staff consists of trainers, teachers, social workers, social pedagogues and psychologists. They work together as a team and have regular team meetings.
- Contact with companies: training providers facilitate the contact with companies. Many providers have a contact person for companies who is responsible for searching for internship opportunities and apprenticeship positions. As internships are the main gateway for participants to transfer to a regular apprenticeship training, this is considered an important success factor.