’Many young people are not aware of the career opportunities opened up by vocational qualifications. We have to do more to interest young people in vocational education and training (VET).’ These were the words of Volker Rode, chairman of the Mittelstandsvereinigung Main-Kinzig (MIT – SME Association Main-Kinzig).

According to statistics of the German Federal Institute for Vocational Education and Training (BIBB) and the Institute for Employment Research (IAB), 3.1 million academics will retire in Germany by 2030. This number is counterbalanced by 4.7 million university graduates entering professional life. In parallel, however, about 10.5 million skilled professionals will retire. Their number is offset by only 7.5 million young people with vocational qualifications.

The corresponding labour skill shortage will be significantly higher in some industry sectors. Skill shortage will be felt particularly in healthcare and social occupations as well as processing, manufacturing and maintenance professions. There is a lack of master craftsmen and technicians and a persisting trend towards university education will further worsen labour skill shortage.

In coming years, many companies in the Main-Kinzig district will find it difficult or will be unable to staff positions. This is potentially pitted against a comparatively high unemployment rate among people with academic qualifications. Here, vocational schools are particularly called upon, as well as the crafts sector, which offers the largest range of vocational education and training options.

Many people are not aware that, according to the German qualifications framework, a master craftsman certificate is equal to a bachelor degree. ’One of our main demands now will be to implement an academic master's programme based on a master craftsman certificate’, said Rode.

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